Paraguay turns deaf ear to abortion demands for 10-year-old victim

Paraguay denies terminating pregnancy of 10-year-old rape victim despite pressure of rights groups to allow abortion

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Dismissal of Paraguayan authorities against the abortion demand for a 10-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by her stepfather has led to critics towards the country's strict abortion law.

Doctors realise the pregnancy of the girl as she admitted to hospital for stomach pain last month. Mother requested to terminate the pregnancy but she faced with rejection since the Catholic country law does not allow abortion unless mother's life is in danger.

Paraguay’s Health Ministry says there is no risk in her pregnancy to perform an abortion but human rights activists don't share the same idea and emphasise that girl's health is under risk. Amnesty International, one of the human rights organisations, calls the decision a "torture."

"Forcing this child to carry a baby to term, against her will, could have devastating health consequences," Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty's Americas deputy director said in a statement.

The girl’s mother was put in prison due to non fulfilment of her duty of care even thoughshe informed officials last year about the sexual harassment against her daughter. No action was taken by the officials.

"There are no indications that the girl's health is at risk ... we are not, from any point of view, in favour of terminating a pregnancy," Health Minister Antonio Barrios told Paraguay's ABC newspaper.

Paraguayan health authorities also defend their decision as an abortion permission could be risky for the girl at such a late stage in her pregnancy.

Incurring sexual abuse by relatives among girls aged 10 to 14 causes two births per day in Catholic Paraguay, according to the government.

Insistence on the pregnancy causes death of teenage girls and maternal death is four times higher among teenagers under 16 than women who are in their twenties, according to World Health Organisation reports.

TRTWorld and agencies