Latin America & Caribbean

Paraguayan 11-year-old 'rape victim' gives birth

People protest against child abuse, demanding stronger penalties for violators, in downtown Asuncion Paraguay (11 May 2015) Image copyright AP
Image caption "All together for a dignified and happy childhood," reads a banner held by demonstrators

An 11-year old girl in Paraguay who was allegedly raped by her stepfather has given birth to a baby girl after being denied an abortion.

Doctors say the girl and her baby, who was delivered by Caesarean section, are doing well.

Paraguay, a predominantly Roman Catholic nation, only allows abortion when the mother's health is in danger.

Earlier this year, the health ministry said that was not so in this case and rejected a request for an abortion.

The girl, who has not been named for her own protection, was raped when she was 10 years old, officials say.

Her stepfather, who is 42, is in jail awaiting trial. He denies any wrongdoing.

His wife has been charged with negligence.

'Invest in education'

A doctor at the Reina Sofia hospital in the capital, Asuncion, said the baby was born with a normal weight of 3.55kg (7lb 13oz).

"The mother is recovering well from the surgery," Dr Mario Villalba told the local Radio Cardinal station.

He said there are two other 12-year-old girls waiting to give birth at the hospital and several other teenagers.

"They are fighting," Dr Villalba said. "You must invest in education. There is nothing else to be done," he added.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Nearly 90% of Paraguayans describe themselves as Catholics

The Paraguayan government's refusal in May to allow the pregnancy to be terminated angered many campaign groups across the world.

Paraguay "failed to protect" the girl, a group of UN human rights experts said.

Amnesty International described Paraguay's decision to force a child to give birth as "inhumane".

Pregnancy can be dangerous in young girls whose bodies are not fully grown.

The World Health Organisation says that the risk of maternal mortality is highest for adolescent girls under 15 years old and complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among adolescent girls in developing countries.

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