Raped and Pregnant Paraguayan Girl Sparks Abortion Debate

May 11, 2015

The case of 10-year-old Paraguayan rape victim who’s five months pregnant has sparked a fierce but rather futile debate on that country’s abortion laws -- the staunchly Roman Catholic nation outlaws abortion unless a pregnant female’s life is endangered by completing the pregnancy. 

Authorities believe the young girl’s stepfather, Gilberto Benitez Zarate, sexually assaulted her. He fled but was later arrested, as was the girl’s mother because police believe she may have been derelict in protecting their daughter.

Because the under-aged victim is not fully grown herself and doesn’t even weigh 80 pounds yet, the debate has unfortunately focused on the question of aborting her unwanted and possibly life-threatening pregnancy.

However, since the girl is over halfway through that condition now, it’s questionable how much psychological suffering she could be spared by way of a premature termination. Indeed, perhaps allowing it to go full term may be less likely to psychically scar the girl than aborting a fetus she might already feel moving in her immature womb.

Because of the known risks to the little girl's health, she is being closely monitored at the Red Cross Hospital in Asuncion Paraguay where physician Dolores Castellanos is in charge of the ward dedicated to the care of impregnated minors.

Paraguay’s Health Ministry assigned Dr. Castellanos to oversee the treatment of this 10-year-old mother-to-be who reportedly “has no pain or complications” so far, because the doctor’s had experience with pregnant rape victims this young before.

“Last year a 10-year-old girl who conceived as a 9-year-old gave birth, says Dr. Castellanos. “Her step-grandfather raped her. She did well.”

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), every day in Paraguay at least two girls ages 10-14 will give birth, and the Associated Press reports that, in this impoverished country of approximately 6.8 million people, about 600 female children age 14 or younger become “new mothers” annually.

The abortion question over the latest victim’s case has distracted from the far more basic issue of protecting children from sexual abuse, because, regardless of one’s views on abortion over all, it is obviously preferable to prevent unwanted pregnancies from happening in the first place, especially among sexually abused and exploited young females.



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