Posted: 10 Nov 2021 22:16 GMT
The Ombudsman, Nadia Cruz, recalled that the minor’s rights to confidentiality and the continuity of her life must be respected.
After several weeks of dispute with organizations linked to the Catholic Church, the Bolivian State guaranteed the right to termination of pregnancy to an 11-year-old girl who had been repeatedly raped by a 61-year-old man, the father of her stepfather.
The little girl is in stable condition after the procedure that allowed her to abort, after 21 weeks of gestation. The interruption could be done earlier, but apparently the interference of conservative organizations exerted pressure for the family to try to carry the pregnancy to term, forcing the Ombudsman to go to the Prosecutor’s Office to ensure that the minor was not forced to be a mother.
The Minister of Government, Eduardo del Castillo, detailed on Sunday that the operation was carried out on Saturday, November 6, after the little girl said that she did not want anything in her belly that was the product of rape.
The official stressed that the minor was treated in accordance with what Bolivian laws dictate. “Justice has determined that the greatest good is to protect the life of the girl because there were no conditions for her to continue with this pregnancy, “said Del Castillo, who explained that the minor was discharged and is under the care of the Yapacaní Ombudsman.
The minister also criticized the authorities of the Catholic Church for having opposed the procedure, instead of ensuring the well-being of the minor and condemning the rapists. “That should be the main role of the church,” he questioned.
For her part, the Ombudsman, Nadia Cruz, said on Monday that the girl is being protected and reminded that she must be respected rights to integrity, confidentiality and continuity of life.
On the same day, the head of Health, Jeyson Auza, warned that the media should avoid revictimization of the girl, protect her identity and not reveal details of her personal life.
The girl, a resident of the Yapacaní municipality of the Santa Cruz department in Bolivia, was subjected to continuous sexual abuse for months by her stepfather’s dad. This happened when the mother and her partner entrusted her with the care of the little girl so that they could go to work.
The pregnancy was discovered when the little girl told her relatives that she felt “strange movements” in her belly and after a medical examination it was determined that she was 21 weeks pregnant. Once the case was leaked to the media, the church started a process to force the girl to give birth.
This position generated rejection within the Bolivian Executive as well as in the United Nations (UN), which demanded respect for the right to interrupt pregnancy, because maternity wards resulting from sexual assaults are considered torture.
The minor was empowered to carry out the process, protected in a constitutional ruling of 2014, which establishes that a victim of sexual violence can have an abortion without the need for a court order and regardless of the gestation period in which it is.