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Pregnant 10-Year-Old Refused Abortion By Mexican State

Pregnant 10-Year-Old Refused Abortion By Mexican State

Abortion has always been a controversial subject in Mexico, where the Roman Catholic Church vocally opposes the practice.  But this new story reveals just far the laws extend: a pregnant 10-year-old girl, allegedly raped by her stepfather, has been denied an abortion by her home state of Quintana Roo, on the Yucatan peninsula, which allows abortion in cases of rape during the first 90 days of pregnancy.  The girl, who is 17 and a half weeks pregnant, is almost a month past the limit.  Her stepfather has been arrested.

The question is whether the girl was informed of her rights, or how far into her pregnancy she was when her mother reported the assault to the police last month.  The state attorney general claims that the girl is in the hands of child protective services, and that both she and the fetus are doing well, but Quintana Roo state legislator Maria Hadad says that they are not revealing all of the details.  Continuing the pregnancy, Hadad says, could cause serious mental and physical problems for the girl.

I’d tend to agree with Hadad.  I obviously don’t have all of the details from this case, but imagine the distress that this girl has undergone: raped by her stepfather, she becomes pregnant (perhaps without real knowledge of what that means), is forced to continue the pregnancy, and then taken away from her mother.  Certainly her stepfather should be taken out of the picture, and the rape trial should continue, but how can anyone argue that an abortion is not this girl’s right?  She probably did not recognize the symptoms of the pregnancy until it was relatively far advanced, if she recognized them at all. 

And her health is absolutely threatened by carrying and delivering a baby before her body is ready.  There are strong correlations between maternal mortality and the age of the mother – girls between the age of 10 and 14 are five times more likely to die during childbirth.  It doesn’t take much to realize that this girl’s life is at stake.

The debate over abortion in Mexico has been particularly heated since 2007, when Mexico City legalized abortion and set out to make them widely available.  The decision was challenged and upheld by the country’s Supreme Court the next year, but many doctors also became “conscientious objectors,” refusing to perform abortions for moral reasons.  And since the passage of that law, more than 17 Mexican states (of which Quintana Roo is one) have passed laws “protecting life beginning at conception.”

If nothing else, this case is a reminder of the extent to which reproductive rights can be threatened, and how crucial these reproductive rights can be.  I only hope that Quintana Roo’s legislators come to their senses and realize that they are literally risking this girl’s life by refusing her an abortion, however late-term.

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Photo from Mahalie's Flickr photostream.

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194 comments

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2:05PM PDT on Jul 19, 2011

sad, sad, sad

2:22AM PDT on Jun 29, 2010

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO WOMEN'S RIGHTS?! This angers me because I was raped when i was only 15! I knew I could not have a child and would have refused to have my rapists baby had i been pregnant. Every girl has their rights. LEAVE THEM ALONE. You have not been in their shoes so YOU DONT HAVE A DAMN CLUE. what we should do is mind our own business and leave their decision to them not us. We dont know what those women are going through and the worst part is most of U people are being judgemental and crude. You want to take away womens rights but Im sure if it came down to taking your rights as women you wouldnt like that. Women going through this, have been through enough and Im sure theyll continue to endure HELL so its not neccessary to attack a woman for her decisions. women are supposed to stick together.

3:54PM PDT on May 3, 2010

Again, this article is about a 10 yr old girl 17 weeks pregnant. Now look at the photo accompanying the article, use a picture of a young girl and the devastation of that reality and not some cooked up and misleading pregnant belly propaganda that is not based on reality.

3:07PM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

Laws of the state should stay off of people's body. Let the child and their parents decide her destiny. It is not a matter for the state. I pray for the best for this young girl and her struggles in this uncertain and unjust world. May she prosper.

8:26AM PDT on Apr 26, 2010

Quite complex. Time of pregnacy is long, which implies more risk in the case of attempting an abortion, specially in a body that has not fully developed. If it is carefully evaluated and conclusions lead to viability of the procedure, the girl deserves the oportunity to get free from this stepfather legacy she carries.

She is only a little child, and obviously this did not come to light earlier because she was controlled by fear. She is passing by a situation which even a grown woman is not prepared, and even more, every thing that happens after and related with the event, is giving it more significance, which means a severe trauma would be building here. Exposing the child like an icon to call attention to unjustice is as harmful as her stepfather action against her, so much more care is needed in how the situation is managed to minimize added negative effects on the girl.

6:58PM PDT on Apr 25, 2010

"Where are the advocates for this child?"

I'll also add, the advocates believe the child has been tortured enough, and she doesn't need to be traumatized anymore by being forced to carry the pregnancy and endure the agony of childbirth at 10 yrs old.

6:56PM PDT on Apr 25, 2010

"Maybe if she cold give birth to the baby under competent medical supervision"

So you support child pregnancy, even if the child was raped?

"Where are the advocates for this child?"

The advocates are saying that she [the child] should have an abortion because the pregnancy alone could possibly kill or severely injur this child while the rest seem to support child pregnancy and child rape because they consider the fetus more important than the child.

6:48PM PDT on Apr 25, 2010

"You're saying that it should be right to take the life of an innocent child that didn't ask to be brought into this world."

Did the 10 yr old ask to be raped? You're pathetic.

6:45PM PDT on Apr 25, 2010

Where do you get your bullshit Kaitlyn D.? I hope you don't have any daughters, god-forbid they be raped and you force them to carry the pregnancy, thus destroying their lives further.

11:35AM PDT on Apr 24, 2010

Kaitlyn. Angelica is correct and your points are assumptions and uneducated.
Many have abortions and are not harmed by them, it just depends on on the person, their beliefs and going with or against their own integrity.
Backstreet abortions are illegal and If a woman died from an abortion nowadays chances are it is because of something else. Abortions are relatively painless, quick procedures not like labor that can be excrutiating pain and last for days.
A 10yr old's body is not set up to have a child nor be a mother and she CAN die from giving birth. There are huge risks if she were to deliver and chances are she would not be able to be pregnant again. Possibly having to have all her reproductive organs removed.
An abortion would be completely justified in this case.
The use of the English language needs to be pointed out here. A pregnant woman is not a mother until the child is born. She is impregnated. In other words she recieved sperm that will turn into a fetus. To say "expecting" is to say just that - expecting a child to come. To say a "woman is with child" is a postulate.


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