A girl who was denied an abortion at age 10 gives birth to baby girl in Paraguay; former stepfather pending trial for rape.
ASUNCION, PARAGUAY (AUGUST 13, 2015) (TELEFUTURO) – An 11-year-old girl who became pregnant when she was 10-years-old and denied an abortion in Paraguay gave birth to a baby girl in Asuncion on Thursday (August 13).
The 42-year-old stepfather of the girl is accused of rape resulting in the pregnancy and is pending trial.
Dr. Mario Villalba, Director of the Red Cross in Asuncion, said that the baby girl was delivered via Caesarean section and that both the child and the baby were in good health.
“At 8:30 a.m. (local time) the surgery (c-section) began and at 8:33 a.m. a baby girl weighing 3 kilos (6.6 lbs) was born without any complications or external anomalies according to initial tests done on newborns. The mother is doing well following the operation, everything went well and now she is in the recovery room accompanied by her mother,” he said.
An international controversy was sparked when Paraguay’s health minister refused a request from the girl’s mother to terminate the pregnancy, with rights groups such as Amnesty International slamming the decision as ‘tantamount to torture.’
In Paraguay, abortion is only allowed when the mother’s life is in danger. In all other cases, the procedure is a crime.
Paraguay’s influential Catholic Church has weighed into the debate, saying human life is sacred and begins at the moment of conception. In his July visit to the South American country, Pope Francis was silent on the issue, despite protests from rights groups.
According to UNICEF, every day, two girls aged between 10 and 14 give birth in Paraguay, where one in five people live in poverty. Often there is a direct link to sexual violence.
According to local media, the girl’s mother reported last year that her husband was sexually abusing her daughter but the authorities took no action and the couple continued to live together.
It was only discovered that the girl was pregnant when the 32-year-old mother brought her to a hospital with abdomen pain.
Elizabeth Torales, the lawyer for the 11-year-old girl’s mother, who was arrested for child neglect, said that steps needed to be taken to ensure that child had an adequate place to raise her baby.
“They say that housing is guaranteed but in reality what they went to see was how soon the brothers’ could build an extra room in the child’s grandfather’s house and a room can never be compared to a house and above all this child needs to have assurance that she will truly have a house and that the mother will have sustainable work so that she too can help her family,” she said.
In Latin America the risk of maternal death is four times higher among teenagers under 16 compared to women in their early twenties, according to the World Health Organization.
Latin America has some of the world’s strictest abortion laws, with six countries imposing total bans.