Paraguay: Life of a Pregnant 10-Year-Old Girl at Risk

April 29, 2015

Paraguay: Life of a Pregnant 10-Year-Old Girl at Risk

The life of a 10-year-old girl who is pregnant after having been raped by her stepfather is in danger. Despite the high risk this pregnancy poses and her mother’s request, access to safe abortion has not been yet provided.

On 21 April a 10-year-old girl arrived with her mother at the Trinidad Maternity and Children’s Hospital (Hospital Materno Infantil de Trinidad) in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, complaining of stomach ache. On examination, a 21-week pregnancy was established. The girl’s pregnancy is the result of having been raped by her stepfather.

The director of the hospital publicly acknowledged that the girl’s pregnancy was of high risk to her, despite the girl being in stable health condition. A few days later, the Public Ministry ordered the girl to be admitted to a different hospital, the Red CrossHospital (Hospital de la Cruz Roja), to monitor her health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and health professionals around the world agree that pregnancy poses specific risks to young girls whose bodies are not fully developed and that the risk to their lives is greater. Therefore all options regarding the pregnancy, including safe abortion services, must be made available.

On 28 April the girl’s mother submitted an administrative plea (carta administrativa) to the hospital requesting an abortion for the girl. Nothing indicates that the hospital is considering an abortion to save her life. On the contrary, according to latest reports, the girl will be sent to a center for young mothers (centro de niñas madres).

In Paraguay, abortion is legal when the life of the woman or girl is at risk, therefore she is entitled to a lawful abortion. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child the best interest of the child has to always be of primary consideration and states have an obligation under the Convention to ensure access to abortion in these circumstances.


Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

  • Urging the Paraguayan authorities to save the life of this 10-year-old-girl, pregnant as a result of rape by her stepfather, by granting her the abortion her mother has requested;
  • Reminding them that according to UN agencies, a pregnancy poses specific risks and potentially long-term consequences for the physical and mental health of girls;
  • Urging the authorities to carry out an independent an impartial investigation into the rape of the girl and to hold those responsible for the abuse accountable.