Rape victim Paraguayan child gives birth

Eleven-year-old Paraguay rape victim gives birth and flames abortion discussions in South American country

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

An 11-year-old rape victim gave birth in Paraguay on Thursday after being denied termination of her pregnancy by doctors and judicial officials, stoking the debate over abortion in the overwhelmingly Catholic country.

The former partner of the girl's mother is accused of the rape.

In Paraguay, two girls aged 10 to 14 give birth every day. The cases are often linked to sexual violence.

Thursday's birth came by way of a programmed cesarean section, Dr. Mario Villalba, director of the Red Cross hospital where the operation took place, told local radio

"A baby girl, weighing 3.5 kilos (7.7 pounds), was born without any complications or anomalies," Villalba said. "The post-operative recovery is going very well."

Paraguayan law permits abortion if a mother's life is endangered. In this instance, a panel including medical doctors, psychologists and judicial officials determined that the life of the girl was not at risk.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, part of the 35-member Organization of American States, asked in June that the Paraguayan government allow an abortion, saying the girl was four times more likely to die in childbirth than an adult.

"Only time will tell the true extent of the physical and psychological consequences of her tragic ordeal," Erika Guevara, Americas director at Amnesty International, said on Thursday.

"It is terrifying that her story will remain all too common unless Paraguay does more to protect victims of sexual violence, decriminalize abortion and guarantee the availability of modern contraceptives and access to information about sexual and reproductive rights," Guevara said in a statement.