An 11-year-old girl in Paraguay who was allegedly repeatedly raped by her stepfather has given birth to a baby girl after she was denied an abortion. Director of the Red Cross hospital in Asuncion,Dr Mario Villalba confirmed that the baby was delivered by caesarean section and was doing well."A baby girl, weighing 3.5kg (7lb 11oz), was born without any complications or anomalies. The post-operative recovery is going very well."
The authorities' handling of the case sparked outrage in the overwhelmingly Catholic country, where abortion is illegal except when the mother's life is at risk. The victim was 10 years old and 22 weeks pregnant when the case went to court in May.
International humanitarian groups argued the girl's body was not able to support her pregnancy and her life was in danger. However the government, courts, the Catholic Church and other groups insisted the pregnancy should not be terminated, partly due to its advanced stage. Amnesty director for the Americas, Erika Guevara chipped in on the issue saying "Only time will tell the true extent of the physical and psychological consequences of her tragic ordeal. It is terrifying that her story will remain all too common unless Paraguay does more to protect victims of sexual violence, decriminalise abortion and guarantee the availability of modern contraceptives and access to information about sexual and reproductive rights."
Gilberto Benitez Zarate, the stepfather who raped the little girl was arrested in May and is awaiting trial on rape charges. If found guilty he is faced with a 15 years jail term. Zarate has denied the charges and claimed he had been set up by his girlfriend, the girl's mother. The girl's mother has been charged with negligence.