10-Year-Old Rape Victim Denied Abortion

Paraguay only allows abortion in cases that threaten mother's health
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2015 6:30 PM CDT
Latest Abortion Fight Centers on 10-Year-Old Rape Victim
A woman sits in a van from which a flag hangs that reads in Spanish "Legal Abortion", during a rally in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, March 7, 2014.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

The girl is 10 years old, 22 weeks pregnant with the child of the stepfather who raped and impregnated her even after he was reported to social services. And she's the subject of a fierce debate among adults over the moral, legal, physical, and psychological implications of whether she should carry the child to term or be allowed an abortion. The girl lives in Paraguay, reports the Guardian, which bans abortion except in the case of a threat to the mother's health, and the government has thus far denied the girl's mother's request to grant an abortion. "Right now, there is no reason to interrupt the pregnancy," says a public health rep, adding that "given the stage of the pregnancy, it’s even more dangerous for the girl" to abort.

The facts of the case: The child's mother reported the stepfather's sexual abuse in January 2014, and authorities took no action. They did, however, arrest the mother when she brought the girl to the hospital with a swollen belly late last month and the pregnancy was discovered, reports CNN. The stepfather is on the run. "That girl is now alone," says a feminist activist, and "the Paraguayan state has a clear responsibility for that." Amnesty International is among other groups that have jumped in, claiming that the girl's age alone should trigger an exception. "The physical and psychological impact of forcing this young girl to continue with an unwanted pregnancy is tantamount to torture," says a rep. But, counters the government rep, "She has no complications at all. If any complication appears, we will proceed based on that." (An 11-year-old girl in Chile two years ago caused a similar debate.)

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