Child pregnancy

11-year-old girl gives birth to stepfather’s child in Paraguay after being refused abortion

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People at the entrance of the hospital where the girl who was raped by her stepfather was assisted. NORBERTO DUARTE/AFP/Getty Images

After being raped and impregnated by her stepfather at age 10 and refused access to an abortion by her government, an 11-year-old girl in Paraguay has given birth by Caesarian-section after doctors ruled a natural birth too dangerous. The child’s mother had reported the abuse to the authorities before her daughter became pregnant, but received no response from the government. After finding out her daughter was pregnant, the mother requested an abortion. This time the government got back to her: Paraguayan law prohibits abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger, and the girl’s young age was not deemed to be in sufficient danger. Activists were unable to get the government to budge, their efforts panned by the country’s most senior bishop as an attempt to impose “barbarism, dehumanization, and a culture of death.” Heavily Catholic, Paraguay’s population numbers just over 6 million people, but more than 600 girls aged 14 or younger become pregnant in Paraguay every year. “What is the future for that girl? What will be her opportunities … She’s being forced to be an adult when she’s 11,” said Paula Avila-Guillen, advocacy adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Avila-Guillen iterated the need for making available sex education and contraception, as well as “abortion law that puts women and girls first.” Otherwise, she says, “We will keep hearing of these cases.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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