Trigger warning: This post deals with sexual assault and may be triggering to some readers.
She’s just 10 years old.
Earlier this year, she was sexually abused and raped by her stepfather.
Now she’s 21 weeks pregnant. And if that’s bad enough, this little girl – who should be playing with her friends in the street instead of facing the prospect of motherhood – is being denied an abortion.
The girl lives in Paraguay and despite her young age and pleas from the her mother, Catholic Paraguay’s strict anti-abortion laws mean that unless she develops complications that would put her life at risk, an abortion is illegal.
The case has resulted in outrage from human rights and feminist groups, whom believe that due to her young age and the circumstances of conception that giving birth would result in both severe psychological trauma and further health risks.
“The physical and psychological impact of forcing this young girl to continue with an un-wanted pregnancy is tantamount to torture,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Deputy Director in an Amnesty International report.
The World Health Organisation has identified a number of risks that pregnancy poses to girls whose bodies have not fully developed. Possible outcomes from adolescent pregnancy include: anaemia, HIV, Sexually transmitted infections, postpartum haemorrhage and mental disorders.
Adolescent pregnancy is also very dangerous to the baby. According to a report from the World Health Organisation infant deaths during the first month are 50%-100% more frequent if the mother is an adolescent versus older.
Amnesty International also points out that Paraguay’s restrictive abortion laws are in violation of international law and risk the life of the child.
“Paraguay must step up to its responsibilities under international law…It is heart breaking to think of the horrifying ordeal this 10-year-old child has already suffered, to force her to continue with this unwanted pregnancy would be a further violation of her rights and will only prolong the horror,” Guadalupe Marengo continues.