Target: Paraguay’s health minister, Antonio Barrios
Goal: Allow 10-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by her stepfather to have an abortion.
Paraguay’s health minister is putting a ten-year-old girl’s health in danger by refusing to let her end her pregnancy after she was allegedly raped by her stepfather. This has sparked outrage over Paraguay’s strict abortion laws.
Paraguay health minister Antonio Barrios refused the request to end the pregnancy that came from the girl’s mother. When news agencies reached out to him, Barrios said that, “There are no indications that the girl’s health is at risk …we are not, from any point of view, in favor of terminating a pregnancy.” He persists that the girl is being properly cared for.
Barrios is able to refuse the abortion request because in Paraguay, you can only end a pregnancy when the mother’s life is in danger, no matter how far along the woman (or girl, in this case) is. It is a crime for any other reason. Paraguay is influenced greatly by the Catholic Church, which has a very large presence in the country.
The girl was 20 weeks pregnant when she complained to her mother about stomach pains and they went to the hospital only to discover she was pregnant. In 2014, the mother had reported to local authorities that her husband was sexually abusing her daughter, but the authorities did nothing. Now, the mother is being held in prison, charged with breaching her duty of care and the stepfather is on the run with an arrest warrant out for him.
This is absolutely sickening that this crime was reported in 2014 but authorities did nothing. Not only has this poor girl been sexually assaulted for at least a year by her stepfather, she is now being forced to carry out the pregnancy that will no doubt emotionally scar her even further. Please urge Paraguay’s health minister to change Paraguay’s strict abortion laws and let this girl end her pregnancy from rape.
Dear Minister Barrios,
I am horrified to learn that not only did authorities in Paraguay do nothing when a mother reported that her husband was sexually abusing her daughter, but also that you are denying this same girl the right to end her pregnancy from an alleged rapist.
Paraguay’s heavy influence from the Catholic Church no doubt plays a large role in the policies there. It is unfortunate, however, that these policies are so outdated that they are willing to emotionally scar this poor girl who is not getting justice.
According to the government, there are two births every day in Paraguay from girls aged 10 to 14. Many of these are the result of sexual abuse by relatives such as this poor girl. These people are disgusting and taking advantage of lenient laws. Please stop the madness and allow pregnancies to at least be terminated in the case of rape.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Reji Jacob