Last month, the girl and her mother asked medics in the northern province of Tucumán for an abortion after confirming that she was pregnant, local rights group ANDHES said.
But local health officials said the girl’s mother initially indicated she would take care of the baby after birth and only made an official request for an abortion this week.
The health department found a doctor who would do the procedure, but he determined an abortion could potentially risk her life because she was 23 weeks’ pregnant.
An abortion “would subject her to a new torture,” José Gijena, the physician who tended to the girl, told CNN en Español. Gijena had to perform a micro C-section.
Rossana Chahla, the health minister of Tucumán, said the abortion had only been requested Monday, state-run news agency Télam reported.
“I want to tell you and inform you that the health care system never obstructed, nor delayed the abortion,” Chahla told reporters.
In the past weeks, health officials also questioned whether the girl’s mother could request her daughter’s abortion, since she lived with her grandmother and asked a family court to weigh in, TN reported.
Abortion is illegal in Argentina, but current laws allow the procedure in cases of rape or when the mother’s health is at risk. Women who otherwise get abortions can be imprisoned for as long as four years.
The girl had been sexually assaulted by her grandmother’s partner, Télam reported.
After the judge granted permission for the girl’s abortion Tuesday, she was supposed to undergo the procedure at Eva Perón Hospital. But the medical staff there refused to perform the abortion, exercising its right to conscientious objection of the procedure.
Abortion rights activists in Argentina have said that even legal abortions are difficult to obtain because physicians are often hesitant to perform them.
Fernanda Marchese, executive director of ANDHES, criticized authorities for the delay in the approval of the abortion. She said it violated the girl’s rights.
“We should have never gotten here,” Marchese said. “The law is clear in that sense.”
The girl’s case has sparked outrage among human rights groups and abortion rights activists in Argentina.
In a statement, the country’s National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion said that forcing girls to go through a pregnancy and give birth was torture.
Amnesty International condemned the lack of action by health officials to end the girl’s pregnancy.
CNN en Español’s Badiha Sebih contributed to this report.