Abortion For Pregnant Ten-year-old Sparks World Debate

Abortion For Pregnant Ten-year-old Sparks World Debate
Sitzend Torsten Mangner / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Paraguay admits that the nation is divided in the case of a ten-year-old child raped and impregnated by her stepfather. Government officials ruled out abortion, saying that the medical process is only an option if the life of the baby endangers the life of the mother. Amnesty International argued that getting pregnant at a very young age is tantamount to psychological and physical torture.


No abortion for pregnant ten-year-old

Paraguayan Health Minister Antonio Barrios ruled that the pregnancy shall continue because there are no signs that the baby is endangering the life of the child, who will be handed over to a shelter. The government will decide who will oversee her prenatal care, and the country’s Justice Department will decide who will have the custody over the child and the baby after birth, Barrios said.

Amnesty International argued that Paraguayan abortion law in the case of the child is restrictive, hence constituting violation of international law.

“The physical and psychological impact of forcing this young girl to continue with an un-wanted pregnancy is tantamount to torture. The Paraguayan authorities cannot sit idly by while this young rape-survivor is forced to endure more agony and torment,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

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The human rights watch group said that the World Health Organization or WHO agreed that pregnancy poses high risks to young girls whose bodies are not fully developed yet. Additionally, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has in March 2015 called on Paraguay to review and modify its abortion legislation to ensure the law’s compatibility with the rights to health and the rights to life.

Paraguay is divided in the case of pregnant ten-year-old

The president of Paraguay’s Episcopal Conference, Msgr Claudio Gimenez, said during his homily that the nation is divided in two.

“Some want to legalize abortion, the killing of an innocent who still is in a period of gestation. And for the other side, those who oppose that idea,” the monsignor was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.

Stepfather of pregnant ten-year-old arrested

The child’s stepfather, Benitez Gilberto Zarate, was already arrested after fleeing authorities, CNN reported. He denied the accusations and has demanded for a DNA test on the unborn baby.

The child’s mother has also been arrested for charges of breaching her duty of care.

Also read: Pope Francis: Priests May Absolve Abortion

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