14-year-old Paraguayan rape victim dies giving birth

The 14-year-old girl died during childbirth in Parguay, where aboriton is illegal unless the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life

A maternity home for sexually abused and pregnant girls in Ascunsion.
A maternity home for sexually abused and pregnant girls in Ascunsion.

A 14-year-old rape victim has died during childbirth in Paraguay, where abortion is illegal unless the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life.

Her baby is stable but relying on a breathing machine.

According to local media, the girl was hospitalised at the National Hospital of Itauguá 20 days prior to the procedure.

A 37-year-old man who raped and impregnated the girl was arrested on Thursday, according to Ricardo González Borgne, the head of the the National Secretariat for Children and Adolescents (SNNA).

Doctors attempted to deliver the baby vaginally until the young mother had a respiratory complication. They were attempting an emergency caesarean section when the girl suffered an embolism, three cardiac arrests and then died.

“It was very sudden. They attempted advanced resuscitation in intensive care, but we could not save her. Her body was not ready for a pregnancy,” Hernán Martínez, the director of the National Hospital of Itauguá, told local media.

The episode is similar to an incident in 2015 when Paraguayan authorities prevented a 10-year-old from having an abortion after she was raped by her stepfather.

In that case, the girl – who was given the pseudonym Mainumby to protect her identity – survived childbirth but has not yet received the housing that the government promised to give her, according to Amnesty International.

According figures from the health ministry, 889 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth in 2015.

Rosalía Vega, director of the Paraguayan section of Amnesty International, said: “We are a country that does not have a sex education based on science. The authorities take advantage of the Catholic majority in the country to promote laws based on religious convictions, not scientific.”

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