ASUNCION, Paraguay, August 14, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - An 11-year-old Paraguayan girl who's been the center of an abortion battle has just given birth.
Human rights activists are claiming she should have been allowed to have an abortion. Last year the young girl was raped by her stepfather, resulting in pregnancy. Now the 11-year-old has given birth to a girl via caesarean section and is currently resting at the Red Cross Reina Sofia maternity hospital. The stepfather has been arrested and is awaiting trial.
The mother was also arrested for negligence, but has since been released pending further investigation. She is now staying with her daughter and granddaughter at the hospital.
The mother had initially attempted to procure an abortion for the young girl when she discovered her pregnancy. But abortion is illegal in Paraguay except when the mother's life is in danger, and doctors refused.
This has led to an outcry against the Paraguayan government by multiple abortion advocacy groups, including Amnesty International, Equality Now, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Center for Reproductive Rights, and even the United Nations' human rights "experts."
All of these groups are condemning Paraguay's ban on abortion, saying the young girl, who goes by the alias "Mainumby," should have been granted an abortion. They argue that the government put her life in danger by forcing her to carry the child to term.
Erika Guevara, American director at Amnesty International, said in a statement that Mainumby is "lucky to be alive." She continued, "The fact that Mainumby did not die does not excuse the human rights violations she suffered at the hands of the Paraguayan authorities who decided to gamble with her health, life and integrity despite overwhelming evidence that this pregnancy was risky."
Likewise Lilian Soto, a feminist activist at the Centro de Documentación y Estudios (Center of Documentation and Studies), said, "When you consider the threat to life and the anatomical and psychological risks, the first step that should be taken in pregnancies of girls under the age of 13 should be an abortion."
But these claims contradict the assessment of the Public Health Ministry. When Mainumby's mother requested an abortion, the doctors determined an abortion would be unsafe. Lida Sosa, director of healthcare programs, said back in May 2014, "Right now, there is no reason to interrupt the pregnancy. In fact, given the stage of the pregnancy, it's even more dangerous for the girl to undergo a procedure [to abort]."
Although Mainumby's baby was delivered by c-section, neither she nor her child had any serious health issues before, during or after the delivery. In fact, Mario Villalba, director of the Reina Sofia hospital, said, "It was like any other Caesarean, but with the age difference. ... She's well and progressing like in any other surgery."
The human rights activists are using Mainumby's case to pressure the Paraguayan government to make contraception and abortion legal and accessible. Paula Avila-Guillen, advisor at the Center for Reproductive Rights, goes so far as to advocate not only for legal access to abortion but also for "comprehensive and scientific sexual information and education" for minors. "If they [Paraguayan government officials] don't take the necessary steps to protect girls and offer them basic health services, we will keep hearing of these cases."
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is the murder of an unborn child and as such is intrinsically evil and can never be condoned. The Catechism of the Council of Trent says, "Persons who, by medicine, either prevent conception or procure abortion, are guilty of a most heinous crime; for this is to be considered an impious conspiracy of murderers" (Part II, Chap. VIII, Question XIII).