News & Politics

11-Year-Old Pregnant Rape Victim Banned from Getting Abortion

Doctors say that the pregnant girl's health is in danger.

A young girl in Chile is facing health complications after getting pregnant from a rape--and her ordeal has ignited a debate over the country’s total abortion ban.

Think Progress’ Tara Culp-Ressler notes that doctors are saying that the 11-year-old girl’s pregnancy is bad for her health and the health of the fetus.

The 11-year-old is now 14-weeks pregnant. Her mother’s boyfriend confessed to abusing the fifth-grader. The girl was raped numerous times over the past two years.  

But abortion is not an option. In 1973, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet outlawed the medical procedure. And while Pinochet is no longer in power, the Catholic country’s conservative government has opposed lifting the ban on abortion. The Chilean Senate has rejected three different bills that would have loosened the ban.

But the case has outraged some Chileans, who are now demanding change to their country’s abortion law. “When I heard about this little girl my first reaction was to support abortion because I think it's the best option in this case,” 30-year-old Eduardo Hernandez told the Associated Press. “It's the first online petition I've signed in my life, but I think this case really deserves it. We should have a law. I hope this case serves as precedent to have a serious discussion about abortion.”

Chile is the latest country to come under the international spotlight for strict abortion bans. International outrage has erupted over cases around the world that lead to the death of pregnant women. In Ireland, a 31-year-old died after being denied an abortion in that country. In the Dominican Republic, a teenager died because doctors refused to give her chemotherapy because the treatment would hurt her pregnancy.


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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