Mexican State Denies 10-year-old Rape Victim an Abortion

This story is just disturbing. Moreover, it goes to show the devastating consequences that legal restrictions on late-term abortions can have on the lives of women around the world. Although abortion is legal in the case of rape, termination must still occur within the first 90 days of the pregnancy. The problem here is that this young woman was probably never informed of her rights to terminate the pregnancy. When she finally did figure it out — she was one month past the 90 day limit and refused access to a safe and legal abortion. CNN reports,

A pregnant 10-year-old, allegedly raped by her stepfather, has become the latest lightning rod in the country’s heated abortion debate.

The girl’s stepfather has been arrested. But advocates on both sides of the issue say their battle is just beginning.

“This girl is much more than an isolated case,” said Adriana Ortiz-Ortega, a researcher at Mexico’s National Autonomous University who has written two books on abortion in Mexico, “and there is much more influence now from conservative groups that are trying to prevent the legalization of abortion.”

Abortion is legal in Mexico’s capital city, but prohibited or significantly restricted in most of the country’s states. The girl’s home state of Quintana Roo, on the Yucatan peninsula, allows abortion in cases of rape during the first 90 days of the pregnancy. But the 10-year-old girl is at 17½ weeks, nearly a month past that limit.

Advocacy groups are calling for federal officials and the United Nations to investigate Quintana Roo’s handling of the matter, claiming officials did not inform her of her abortion rights.

“We don’t know what is happening, and the institution that is supposed to provide support and care for these minors hasn’t been transparent. We’re really asking for accountability,” said Maria Luisa Sanchez Fuentes, director of the Information Group on Reproductive Choice.

State Attorney General Francisco Alor Quezada said he did not know whether officials had told the girl she had the option of pursuing an abortion, and he did not know how far the girl was into her pregnancy when her mother reported the assault to authorities last month.

He said the girl is in the custody of state protective services, and officials are closely monitoring her physical and psychological care.

About aj:
Andrew (AJ) is a vehement progressive, youth activist, and reproductive justice organizer. When he's not busy with the movement, you can usually find him dancing in the club or watching trashy reality tv.

Comments

  1. I realize that my question is likely to sound flippant or dismissive, but it is sincere–can someone please explain to me what the moral and ethical reasons (not the legalities, I “get” those) are for making this young girl have this baby? I can only think of one standard (and weak) anti-abortion argument, and am trying to understand how someone justifies this, but I’m having a hard time…

  2. freewomyn says:

    That’s so effed up. Seriously.

  3. It is truly unfortunte for this young girl, but there has to be a cut off date. This fetus is a human being already. Have any of you seen the video on what happens to the fetus as it is being killed. It is horrifying. I do not understand the logic when it comes to killing. You usually go to jail or the death penalty. But a 4 or 5 month old fetus has no rights and can be killed at any time. Horrible. When I was younger, I though abortion is the answer, but not after 6-8 weeks, if you have not gone by then, give the baby up for adoption. There are alot of couples who want to adopt. Late term abortions are just wrong. I am sure this girl will be well taken care of medically and she will be able to continue with her life.

  4. this is horrible, that 10 year old deserves to have her life spared, i had a kid at 17 and there were still complications and of course i wasnt ready, yes there should be a cut off date. but realistically that fetus can NOT survive on its own. and the more time politics take then they wont be giving her a choice of life.( the 10 year old that is).

  5. @Heidi – I just have to disagree with you here. I don’t think the life of the fetus, especially considering that it was a product of rape, should be privileged over the life and well being of the young girl. She is completely innocent in this situation – and her life shouldn’t be sacrificed and/or made vulnerable simply on the grounds that her fetus is also a life. She is TEN YEARS OLD. It shouldn’t be her obligation to give birth and find a family that will adopt. The likelihood that she will even make it through the pregnancy is slim — and her life shouldn’t be risked. Period.

  6. Does anyone know whether this girl actually wants an abortion? (Not all rape victims do.) The CNN article wasn’t clear on whether the sought abortion is what the girl really wants – or whether it was a decision that someone else thought was in her best interests.

  7. Catherine says:

    Just to let you guys know, she actually wants this baby and does NOT want an abortion. Not because of the government forcing her to, but because SHE seriously wants to have and keep the baby.

  8. “The solution to rape is not abortion. The solution to rape is stopping rape.”- Quote from a rape victim.

  9. @ Catherine – I have a hard time believing that you KNOW what this young girl does or doesn’t want. Even if she does want to have a baby, it certainly doesn’t justify leaving her in the dark about what her options are until it’s too late. Moreover, as much as she deserves the autonomous right to make her own choice she also deserves to know the risks associated with giving birth at her age.

    @ Marie – No one here is arguing that abortion is a solution to rape. That assertion is absurd. Furthermore, stopping rape would be a lot easier in a world where women’s bodies and choices are respected.

  10. @ AJ – The girl has said that she doesn’t want an abortion. That’s not just Catherine’s guessing.

    There are risks associated with both giving birth and having an abortion. Both choices (live birth, abortion) are riskier for a young girl than an adult woman. Once a 10-yr-old girl gets pregnant, none of her options are good.

    And I don’t know that this girl was not informed about her options prior to the 90-day limit. Again, the article was not clear.

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