In mid-November, the Paraguayan government hotline received reports of alleged sexual abuse of a 13-year-old indigenous girl in a community near the Brazilian border. The case was assigned to a government lawyer, Roselí Echeguren, to protect the rights of children in Paraguay.
Eschgren told Human Rights Watch that members of the community noticed that the girl had begun to wear girdles. Eschgren went to see the girl and took her to her hospital. So her doctor confirmed that she was pregnant. She told her the girl she was silent “she was afraid.”
Authorities have launched a criminal investigation into sexual abuse, and community leaders have arranged for the girl to leave her home. Since then, several psychologists have interviewed her. But Eschgren said no one asked her a serious question: whether she wants to continue her pregnancy.She said it was due to the Paraguayan militants Abortion law..
In Paraguay, abortion is legal only to save the lives of pregnant people. Women and girls are forced to continue unwanted pregnancies, even in the case of rape and incest. Pregnancy is not life-threatening, but it does pose a serious health risk. There are also pregnancies in which the fetus is unlikely to survive outside the womb. It is one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Latin America.
The narrow exceptions are not enough to save lives, not enough to protect the health and dignity of girls.Human rights watch research In this area, strict abortion bans do not prevent abortion of women and girls. They just force them into unsafe abortions and endanger their lives and health.
In 2018, a 14-year-old Paraguayan girl who was raped and pregnant by a 37-year-old man died after a doctor desperately performed an emergency caesarean section to save her and her baby. She had already spent several weeks in the hospital due to pregnancy-related complications. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that girls between the ages of 10 and 14 are at higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than older girls and women.
On average, two girls a day between the ages of 10 and 14 have been sexual since 2013, according to data from the Ministry of Health collected by the Children’s and Youth Rights Coordinator, a coalition of non-governmental organizations in Paraguay. Even if there is, I am giving birth in Paraguay. Relationships with children under the age of 14 are rape under Paraguayan law. Amnesty International Last year, it was reported that Paraguay lacked the proper system to prevent sexual violence and protect victims.
Indigenous girls and women in Paraguay are particularly at risk as the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Pointed out in 2017, They are imbalanced in the effects of poverty, experience discrimination and have difficulty getting medical care, education and work.
Whatever the 13-year-old rape victim Eschgren would have decided on her pregnancy, she would have had the option of ending it safely and legally. Every year, hundreds of girls like her suffer from being deprived of information and power about their bodies and lives, often in horrific silence. These are the cruel consequences of Paraguay’s injustice abortion law.
Paraguay needs to criminalize abortion, but in addition to saving human lives, allowing narrow exceptions can save lives and protect health and dignity. If you become pregnant due to rape or incest, if the fetus cannot survive, or if it is necessary to protect human health, at least allow the doctor to give the patient informed consent to end the pregnancy. Is essential. Paraguayan authorities should act now before any more girls and women suffer unnecessarily.
About the author: Tamara Taraciuk Broner is the Deputy Director of the Americas and Santiago Menna is the Research Assistant of the Americas. Human rights watch..