Raped, Pregnant, and Denied a Life-Saving Abortion—All at 10-Years-Old

By Debbie Sharnak, Argentina-Paraguay country specialist

A ten-year-old girl and her mother arrived at a hospital in Asunción, Paraguay on April 21 with stomach pains. The doctors quickly discovered the cause of the discomfort—the girl was 21-weeks pregnant, the result of having been raped by her stepfather.

At such a young age, the pregnancy is considered high risk by the World Health Organization— child pregnancies are extremely dangerous for the health of the pregnant girl and may lead to complications and even death. Because the bodies of young girls are not fully developed to carry a baby, these pregnancies tend be high risk, and in Latin America, the risk of maternal death is four times higher among adolescents younger than 16 years old.

The girl’s mother submitted an administrative plea to request an abortion.

Paraguay, however, has some of the strictest abortion laws in the world, permitting the procedure only when the mother’s life is in danger. No other exceptions are allowed, even for cases of rape, incest, or unviable fetus. Such restrictions to abortion access violate international human rights law and standards. Yet, even with the risk to the health and life of the girl, Paraguayan authorities have so far denied the girl access to a safe and therapeutic abortion. Instead, the girl was transported to a center for young mothers.

Amnesty International is leading an effort to “show humanity and respect the dignity and wishes of this young girl and her mother” and to ensure that the young girl has access to all her rights, including the right to an abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the life or health of the mother is at risk.

“In denying this girl her right to a life-saving abortion, Paraguay is re-victimizing a child who has already survived rape by a close relative,” noted Tarah Demant, Senior Directory of the Identity and Discrimination Unit at Amnesty International USA, “Paraguay has so far been unresponsive to the pleas of the girls’ mother, to international outcry, and to its obligations under human rights law.”

The United Nations also released a statement earlier this week that further condemned the inaction of Paraguayan authorities. In the statement, UN experts note that “the Paraguayan authorities’ decision results in grave violations of the rights to life, to health, and to physical and mental integrity of the girl as well as her right to education, jeopardizing her economic and social opportunities.”

Despite these concerns, Paraguay has continued to deny the option of abortion for the girl, instead given a judicial order set up an “interdisciplinary panel” to assess the young girl.  Amnesty International USA calls on Paraguay to:

  • Ensure the panel of experts assess the girl holistically and ensure all her human rights, particularly her right to life, health, and physical and psychological integrity are guaranteed;
  • Meet their international obligations and protect human rights, by ensuring that she has access to all possible information and medical services to manage this high-risk pregnancy as a result of rape, including the option of accessing safe abortion services;
  • Conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the rape and bring the perpetrator to justice.

Amnesty is asking that you join the effort to save the life of this young girl whose life is in danger and demand that she have access to a safe abortion.

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19 thoughts on “Raped, Pregnant, and Denied a Life-Saving Abortion—All at 10-Years-Old

  1. La solución a una violacion es Matar otro ser humano ?
    Qué no tiene culpa tampoco
    Es una brutalidad igual que la que se hizo con esa pobre niña
    He firmado muchas cosas de amnistía pero esto NO

    • Yes. A safe abortion IS needed rather than an innocent ten year old girl suffer a pregnancy and die through childbirth. If an abortion happens in a timely manner it is not killing another human being. The ten year old girl's life must mean something and must not be put in more danger.

    • Tiene diez años, su cuerpo, su organismo no está preparado para esto. Alguien muy cercano adoptó a la bebé de una niña de 12 años quien fue violada por su papá y la cual se rehusó a querer a su bebé. La persona que adoptó proveyó para su atención psicológica, educación pero finalmente la jovencita se quitó la vida a los 17 años.

    • Ana no tiene razon! La vida de la chica es la cosa mas importante en este cuento. ¿Está a favor de arruinar la vida de la chica? Tal vez su muerte a causa de su padre bastardo? Los católicos me hacen enfermo! Están viviendo en la Edad Media.

      Usted habla del feto como si fuera una persona viva. No lo es! Si nace hoy … que va a morir. No es un ser humano completo y esta "cosa" está poniendo en peligro la vida de una joven que ya ha sufrido bastante. Ella probablemente odiar al niño de todos modos, ya que siempre le recordaría de la violación!

    • No se trata de matar a otro ser humano…creo yo! La question es como proteger a esta nina que no puede ser madre y que puede morir fisicamente y psicologicamente si no se le ayuda !

    • ana tu te vas a hacer cargo del bebe si la nina de 10 anos se muere al momento del parto? y si no se muere, igual te vas a hacer cargo del bebe o esperas que la nina de 10 anos se haga cargo?

  2. Entonces eres tan cruel e ignorante como el gobierno del Niño. Hay una gran diferencia en un aborto theraputic y el aborto. Sería para salvar la vida de un niño de 10 años. Te das cuenta de que el niño y el bebé están en peligro de morir pero tanto arriba en su caballo de alta son perfectamente contenido a dejar que eso suceda . QUÉ VERGÜENZA!

  3. Bring her to the United States. Start a fund and I guarantee you people will do anything to help this poor little innocent angel.

  4. Lo unico que les interesa a los pro-aborto es su agenda… Ni las victimas de abusos sea violacion, ni en guerra, NI MUCHO MENOS LOS INOCENTES INDEFENSOS EN SUS VIENTRES… Todo lo utilizan para la politica, sea Paraguay, sea Nigeria, sea la mayoria de madres de color en US, las madres pobres, las madres solteras, etc. No tienen mejor solucion para ayudarlas, sino que someterlas a la intensificacion de sus sufrimientos a traves de convencerlas de matar a ese ser inocente.?? No son capaces de mejor cosa con tanto $$, tecnologia, etc. etc.?? Lo peor de nuestros siglos XX y XXI es esta atrocidad: MATAR, cuando se debieran SALVAR VIDAS HUMANAS EN NECESIDAD. NO FIRMO A FAVOR DE MATAR.

  5. Cada vez que hay un caso que 'sirva' para justificar la agenda del aborto, los grupos pro-aborto no pierden la oportunidad de politizar estos casos de serio sufrimiento para las victimas de abusos, sean de la edad que sean… No veo un verdadero interes para ayudar a estas mujeres; sea Paraguay, sea Nigeria, sean los abortos selectivos en US y otros paises… Parece que la muerte de inocentes es la unica solucion. Sabian que en US los violadores, pedofilos, y abusadores sexuales no tienen una pena grave si son encontrados culpables? Una fianza y estan libres.. como en otros paises. El aborto es infligir mas sufrimiento en las victimas, NO ES LA MUJER, ES LA AGENDA pro abortista lo que impulsan.

  6. It's amazes me how these religious people seem so preoccupied with the life of a fetus and yet show so little if any concern for this little girl's health and welfare. Such hipocrites. In the end if this little girl manages to survive the pregnancy, I wonder how many of these so called christians will be there to support and care for this girl and the baby? And for how long before they move on and leave this child mother to fend for herself? Sickening!

  7. As of today, her baby is 25 weeks and capable of surviving premature birth. Abortion is not fair to this child – how can Amnesty be endorsing killing an innocent human child because of the crimes of his/her father?

    Even at 21 weeks, this preborn child is already so developed. I cannot believe that this young mother really wants to end her child's life. I believe the pressure is coming from the girl's mother.

    Shame on you Amnesty International for not being a true voice for this 10-year-old but more for the mother who wants to end her grandchild's life because she is ashamed of how they were conceived.

    If you need to "terminate the pregnancy" then at least suggest a method that does not result in killing the child! A C-Section for example. Sure, the premature child will have a fight ahead for it's survival outside of the womb, but killing this baby is not going to erase the assaults – it's just going to make the 10 year old the mother of a dead baby.

  8. "Raped, Pregnant, and Denied a Life-Saving Abortion—All at 10-Years-Old": This is a climax of how low a society can sink. I am not a medic, but, I guess the burden we are placing on this child far outweighs the moral debate about "applying science" under such circumstances. We should use all scientific knowledge and technology at our disposal to render help to this child.

  9. What an awful story! Poor child! In my opinion it is cruel to deny the access to a safe abortion. It is a young girl that should have a childhood, but not to become a mother at the age of 10, moreover when the pregnancy is the result of rape.

  10. While I understand the impact of the law, I strongly believe that forcing the girl to carry the pregnancy to term would have dire consequencies on her psycho-social wellbeing.

  11. I hope laws are created which go after the perpetrator,so that hopefully this type of crime does not continue to happen to young girls in this country.! I pray all turns out well in this situation.!

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