International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
25 June 2015

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11-year-old Paraguay girl -denied abortion after rape- pregnancy to be induced

The child is being taken care of by the state [sic] after she was raped by her stepfather. Doctors fear it would be too risky to her health to allow her to reach the full term


23 June 2015


A pregnant 11-year-old girl, who was refused an abortion in Paraguay after she was raped by her stepfather, is expected to be induced as she enters her third trimester. Doctors are likely to bring forward the girl's labour because of the greater health risks of reaching full term, her lawyer said. She is more than six months pregnant.


The child, who in the care of a state institution, was denied an abortion by authorities in Paraguay, where the procedure is only legal when the mother's life is in immediate danger. Last month, a board of doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists examined the girl and warned she was at risk of post-partum haemorrhaging and endometrial infection as well as damaging her reproductive health system, which is not yet fully developed.


"The girl is more than six months pregnant, so I think they are going to wait until seven months to carry out a labour induction," said Mirta Moragas Mereles, who is acting for the girl [sic] in Paraguay.

"The last information I had was that she was stable with discomfort, but the state manages her condition with great secrecy."


The girl discovered she was 21 weeks pregnant in April when her mother took her to hospital with stomach pains. Police arrested the mother on suspicion of aggravated sexual assault and neglect. She was released on bail on Monday, while the girl's stepfather remains in custody.


Earlier this month, the Paraguayan government dismissed an order from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to allow the girl access to adequate medical care. The foreign ministry said it rejected the proposed interim measures on the grounds that "it was deemed to have taken all measures to avoid impunity for the wrongful act and ensure the life and safety of the pregnant girl and the unborn child."

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Amnesty International and the Centre for Reproductive Rights said they were monitoring the case.  


A spokesman from Amnesty International said: "There are a lot of rumours about the current health of the girl but the reality is that it's difficult to know as access to the girl is limited. In any case we are still concerned for the life and the health of the girl in the short, medium and long term."


M?nica Arango Olaya, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Centre for Reproductive Rights, said Paraguay's stance was a violation of international human rights.

"Requiring a young girl to continue with an unwanted pregnancy - especially when it could put her health and life at serious risk - is not only egregious, but cruel and inhumane treatment," she said. "The state is set to monitor constantly her situation and if they see danger to her health they might act to protect her. But this case should spur a national conversation around the decriminalisation of abortion at least in cases where the health is in danger, as well as in cases of rape. This case cannot be repeated."