Rape case 11-year-old girl cranks up abortion discussion in Bolivia

The case of an 11-year-old girl who was raped by a family member and got pregnant in Bolivia leads to a fierce discussion of abortion there. The Guardian newspaper writes that the girl was abused by her stepfathers 61-year-old father. She lived with her sisters with the man because her parents stayed in the capital La Paz due to work. The man is trapped for his crimes, writes the newspaper.

The girl would have initially wanted to have an abortion until the Catholic Church in Bolivia mixed in the case. In Bolivia, a pregnancy may be interrupted by law since 2014, if it is a result of rape or incest. Human rights organizations say the church persuaded the girl and her mother to complete the pregnancy.

A church spokesman says they have “the societal duty to secure the lives of both the baby and the mother”. Human rights organizations, on the other hand, say there is manipulation by the church and that the 11-year-old girls human rights are being violated.

“Culture of Rape”

Nadia Cruz, a human rights ombudsman in Bolivia, has announced that he is taking criminal action against the Archdiocese of Santa Cruz, the girls mother and the medical staff of the Santa Cruz hospital where the girl initially stayed due to violation of the duty of care and trafficking for forced pregnancy.

Human rights organizations speak of a “culture of rape” in the Latin American country. La Casa de la Mujer action group states that nearly 40,000 underage girls became pregnant in 2020. The average age at which they conceived is 15 years.