After being denied an abortion, an 11-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped repeatedly by her stepfather, has given birth to a little girl.
The baby was delivered via caesarean section according to Dr Mario Villalba, the director of the Red Cross hospital in Asuncion. Talking to a local radio station he said that the baby was doing well “A baby girl, weighing 3.5kg (7lb 11oz), was born without any complications or anomalies. The post-operative recovery is going well.”
The case – which has shone a light on Paraguay’s strict abortion laws – originally came to light when the girl was 10-years-old, and 22 weeks through her pregnancy.
Abortions are illegal in the Paraguay – which is a predominantly Catholic country – with the only exception being when a mother’s life is at risk. The authorities handling of the situation has garnered a massive amount of disapproval, understandably people are outraged at the decision, with humanitarian groups describing it as a “tragedy”.
Along with many others, international humanitarian groups have argued that the young girls life was at risk, as her body was not able to support the pregnancy. The government, along with the Catholic Church, courts and other groups insisted that the young girl should not be allowed to terminate her pregnancy, partially because of her advanced stage of pregnancy.
Talking of the negative effects that giving birth could have on the young girl, Erika Guevara, Amnesty’s director for the Americas, explained: “Only time will tell the true extent of the physical and psychological consequences of her tragic ordeal.
“It is terrifying that her story will remain all too common unless Paraguay does more to protect victims of sexual violence, decriminalise abortion and guarantee the availability of modern contraceptives and access to information about sexual and reproductive rights.”
The tragedy comes as a result of the abuse the young girl allegedly faced from her stepfather, Gilberto Benitez Zarate, who is now awaiting trial for the crime. Zarate was arrested in May on charges of rape and is facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Zarate vehemently denies the allegations and has claimed that he was set up by his partner, the young girl’s mother. The girl’s mother also is awaiting trial after being charged with negligence.