The family of an 11-year-old girl who became pregnant after her 61-year-old step-grandfather allegedly raped her has refused to let her have an abortion.
The young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is more than five months pregnant.
She was allegedly raped by her stepfather’s dad, who is half a century older than her, in the Bolivian town of Yapacaní, near Santa Cruz, in the centre of the South American country.
The girl’s family had accepted the abortion at first but changed its mind over the weekend and signed their consent to continue the pregnancy.
Women’s House chief, Ana Paola García, said to newspaper EFE the young girl told one of her cousins ‘she felt strange movements in her belly’.
The family of an 11-year-old girl who became pregnant after her 61-year-old step-grandfather allegedly raped her has refused to let her have an abortion. The family’s lawyer Giovanni Cabello (pictured) announced the decision to reporters in Bolivia
The cousin told her mother, the 11-year-old girl’s aunt, who filed a police complaint.
‘She does not want to be a mother,’ García said.
‘What is being done with this creature is a crime’.
She added the victim was given a first dose of the pregnancy termination medication.
‘It is not possible for us to force an 11-year-old girl to be in a nine-month gestation process, that is torture.’
García said there were 39,999 pregnancies of children under 18 in Bolivia in 2020, an average of 109 girls per day.
The 11-year-old was allegedly raped by her stepfather’s dad, who is half a century older than her, in the Bolivian town of Yapacaní (pictured), near Santa Cruz, in the centre of the South American country
‘This situation is alarming, sexual violence still plagues Bolivia and girls continue to be the main victims,’ she added.
Abortion has been legal in Bolivia since 1970 in cases of alleged rape or sexual assault.
However, it has only been able to be done without a court order since a constitutional ruling in 2014.
Since then only a document signed by the victim informing her of the abortion procedure has been needed.
The family’s decision change may have been influenced by the Catholic Church in Bolivia, which said ‘the only solution is to save, care for and lovingly support both lives’.
The Church added: ‘A crime is not solved with another crime, abortion does not remedy rape, nor does it give peace of mind to consciences, on the contrary, it leaves more serious psychological wounds for a long time.’
Bolivian Minister of the Interior, Eduardo del Castillo (pictured) said: ‘We cannot tolerate this type of behaviour within our country and we cannot destroy the life of an 11-year-old girl’
The decision made by the young girl’s family was revealed by their lawyer, Giovanni Cabello to news site Pagina Siete.
She said: ‘The maternity ward and all its team are proceeding according to the will expressed by the family.’
Regarding the state in which the girl is, the lawyer said ‘she is in adequate condition, she is calm’.
She added the young girl was being given ‘all the necessary care so that the mother and the unborn baby are well.’
The decision not to abort the pregnancy reportedly goes against the wishes of the girl’s doctors and of the judicial authorities.
Her step-grandfather is in custody at the Montero prison, north of Santa Cruz, charged with aggravated rape of a girl.
The 61-year-old’s alleged attacks supposedly started last May when the 11-year-old and her 15-year-old sister were living under his care while their parents were earning a living in the country’s capital La Paz
The 11-year-old and her 15-year-old sister were living under the care of the suspect since last February as their parents were working in the capital La Paz as a cook and as a bricklayer respectively.
The girl locked herself in her room in an attempt to avoid the attacks, which allegedly started last May.
There are contrasting statements both for and against continuing the pregnancy, allegedly written by the 11-year-old girl and her mother.
The 11-year-old was determined to be 21 weeks pregnant after an ultrasound was performed by doctors.
The young was cared for at the Percy Boland Maternity hospital in Santa Cruz, a two and a half hour drive from Yapacaní
Bolivian Minister of the Interior, Eduardo del Castillo said the girl would have to be evaluated psychologically if she wanted to continue with her pregnancy.
He said: ‘Imagine an 11-year-old girl who has to see her son or daughter as a result of rape every day.
‘We cannot tolerate this type of behaviour within our country and we cannot destroy the life of an 11-year-old girl.
‘We must generate the material conditions so that this pregnancy is interrupted if it is defined as such.’
The representative of the Yapacaní Children’s Ombudsman, Silvia Suazo, said: ‘The girl rejects the baby. What’s more, she doesn’t even dare to say “baby”.
‘She wants to study and go on with her life, she’s very afraid and nervous.’
Meanwhile, former representative of the Ombudsman in Santa Cruz Hernán Cabrera criticised the Church and pro-life groups in Bolivia.
He said: ‘She was brutally raped. The Church implores the name of God for the life of the baby, while that girl suffers, everything hurts and does not want that ‘life’ in her womb.
‘Those who call themselves pro-life say that life cannot be killed, but it is already dead unjustly.
‘She was shattered by a violent, erect penis of a man-beast. She is one of the many abused, raped and pregnant girls.’