Rape of Uruguayan girl sparks abortion debate

2015-05-08 10:50
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Montevideo - A learning-disabled 11-year-old Uruguayan girl who was raped and impregnated wants to give birth to her child, in echoes of a case in Paraguay that is similarly stirring fierce debate.

The girl, who has not been named, is 16 weeks pregnant and described by doctors and sources close to her family as suffering slight mental retardation and learning disabilities.

She was reportedly raped by the 41-year-old grandfather of her half-sister, who visited her family's home in Montevideo frequently, sources close to the family told AFP on Thursday, when details of her case emerged.

The man has been detained and will be prosecuted for rape, officials said.

In 2013, Uruguay legalised abortion for up to 12 weeks of gestation and 14 weeks in the case of rape.

However, medical reports – cited in the local press – concluded the girl does not have the capacity to understand the consequences of pregnancy and motherhood.

"Although the legal deadline for abortion has been exceeded, if we determine that the pregnancy endangers her health, judicial authorisation could be granted," Marisa Lindner, director of Uruguay's Child and Adolescent Institute (INAU), told a press conference.

However Monica Silva, director of INAU's health division, told La Diaria newspaper that "there is no risk of life for the girl or baby, so we cannot make her have an abortion."

The hospital has said the girl is in good health and under medical supervision.

The case comes after that of a 10-year-old who was raped and impregnated by her stepfather in Paraguay, where the health minister has blocked her from having an abortion.

Paraguay's constitution forbids abortions unless the mother's life is in danger.

Read more on:    uruguay

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