By Delisa Morris
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay — A 10-year-old girl in Paraguay has been denied an abortion that could save her life. The girl, who is more than five months pregnant, was allegedly raped by her stepfather.
The child was admitted to the hospital with stomach pains when doctors discovered that she was 22-weeks pregnant.
Amnesty international is called on Paraguay’s government to allow the child to get the abortion for the sake of her health. The mother also requested that the child be allowed to have an abortion, due to the high risk nature of the pregnancy.
The mother’s request was also denied by officials, as abortion is illegal in the South American country. The girl’s mother is now in custody facing charges of breaching duty of care and being an accomplice of sexual abuse.
Guadalupe Marengo, America’s deputy director at Amnesty International, said Paraguay’s “restrictive” abortion law is in violation of international law.
“Forcing the girl to continue with the pregnancy would prolong the horror”, he said. “The physical and psychological impact of forcing this young girl to continue with an unwanted pregnancy is tantamount to torture.”
Health Minister Antonio Barrios told Paraguay’s ABC newspaper that a psychologist along with doctors were providing care to the girl.
“[T]here are no indications that the girl’s health is at risk… we are not from any point of view, in favor of terminating a pregnancy,” Barrios was quoted as saying.
Paraguayan health authorities have said that even if the abortion were allowed, they would not go ahead because it could be risky for the girl at such a late stage in pregnancy.
The Catholic church in Paraguay has weighed in on the debate, noting human life is sacred, and it starts at conception.
This isn’t Paraguay’s first run in with a domestic abuse pregnancy. According to health statistics, 680 Paraguayan girls between 10 and 14 years old gave birth in 2014.
Two births a day occur among girls aged 10 to 14 in Paraguay, and many are the result of sexual abuse by relatives and stepfathers, according to the government.
For more information, please see:
Reuters – Pregnant 10-year-old rape victim denied abortion in Paraguay – 5 May 2015
The Telegraph – Girl, 10, raped by stepfather, denied abortion in Paraguay – 30 Apr. 2015
CNN – Group presses Paraguay to allow abortion for raped girl, 10 – 4 May 2015
the guardian – To make a 10-year-old give birth isn’t just horrifying – it’s life threatening – 5 May 2015
Author: Delisa Morris
Delisa Morris is a Law Student and Master of Science Candidate in Public Relations at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.
She is originally from Chicago, Illinois and completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.