11-year-old rape victim gives birth in Paraguay

An 11-year-old girl who was denied an abortion after being raped has given birth in Paraguay.


The case has put a spotlight on child rape in the poor South American nation and drawn criticism from human rights groups.

Elizabeth Torales, a lawyer for the girl’s mother, said the minor gave birth to a baby girl via caesarean in a Red Cross hospital in Asuncion, Paraguay’s capital.

She said reported there were no complications and both the mother and baby were resting.

“The baby doesn’t yet have a name,” said Torales, who added that her client and the girl’s grandmother had requested custody of the infant.

The girl was allegedly raped by her stepfather when she was 10. The stepfather has been arrested and is awaiting trial. The girl’s mother has been charged with negligence.

The mother requested an abortion for her daughter, but the government refused to allow it, drawing praise from religious groups but criticism from many human rights organisations, including UN officials.

Paraguay bans abortion except when a mother’s life is in danger.

In a statement on Thursday, Amnesty International said it was glad the girl came through the birth all right, but said the fact that “she did not die does not excuse the human rights violations she suffered at the hands of the Paraguayan authorities”.

While the case did spark some discussion about abortion in deeply socially conservative Paraguay, the focus of several protests was on better protecting children from abuse.

About 600 girls aged 14 or under become pregnant each year in this country of 6.8 million people, according to local health statistics.