LIMA – An 11-year-old rape victim was allowed an abortion in Peru this weekend after initially being denied the procedure, in a case that rights groups say highlights the lack of support for minors who are victims of sexual abuse.
The girl, publicly identified only as “Mila”, was raped for years by her stepfather, according to a police report. Earlier this month, Mila – nearly 18 weeks pregnant – was turned away at a hospital in the Amazon region of Loreto, which refused to perform an abortion.
The case caused furor and after the United Nations urged the Peruvian state to intervene, Mila was brought to Lima, the capital, and doctors in the state authorized the abortion.
She is now recovering well, said Susana Chavez, director of feminist nongovernmental organization PROMSEX, and will remain in state care after her release.
But Mila’s experience highlights state failures to protect young victims of sexual abuse, Chavez told Reuters, adding that there are likely far more rapes of minors than reported.
“We estimate that for every pregnant girl who comes to the hospital, there are at least 10…victims of sexual abuse,” Chavez said.
Official data shows that live births to girls aged 10 to 14 in Peru increased by 14% last year to 1,625. In the first half of this year, 14,500 sexual assaults were recorded, of which 70 % concerned minors under the age of 17.
Abortion is only legal in Peru if the mother’s life is in danger, and Chavez said even then access is blocked by an “ultra-conservative” backlash.
Authorities are now looking for Mila’s stepfather, who was arrested in July but later released due to insufficient evidence. The judge’s decision to release him was widely criticized and President Dina Boluarte demanded his “immediate capture”. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
PH’s Restrictive Abortion Laws Lead to Unsafe Abortions and Deaths
Abortion: the 2 sides of the coin
To subscribe to MORE APPLICANT to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For comments, complaints or inquiries, Contact us.