(NEW YORK) – Amnesty International today called on the Chilean government to immediately make available all medical and psychological treatment options, including an abortion, to an 11-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather and is now pregnant.
The girl, known as Belen, was repeatedly raped by her 32-year-old stepfather and is now 14 weeks pregnant. Chile is one of just a handful of countries around the world that criminalize abortion under all circumstances.
Cristina Finch, managing director, Amnesty International USA Women’s Rights Program, said: “The Chilean government must offer Belen every means of support – medical and psychological – to help her cope with the awful consequences of rape. This is her right and must include the option of a safe abortion. Belen’s life and health are in the hands of the authorities and we urge them to protect her rights."
Experts agree that pregnancy poses specific risks and potentially long term consequences for the physical and mental health of children. The state must ensure that all victims of rape have the option of safe, accessible and legal abortion services, and that decisions on whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy are made without coercion.
The United Nations Committees on the Rights of the Child, on Torture, on Violence against Women and the World Health Organization, among many other expert organizations, insist that all rape victims must be offered continued support to overcome the physical and psychological impact of their ordeal, tailored to their particular needs, including as to whether or not to continue with pregnancy resulting from rape.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.