The case of a pregnant 11-year-old girl who was molested in Chile by her mother’s partner has set off a national debate about abortion.
State TV reported that the girl known only as “Belen” is 14 weeks pregnant. Police arrested her mother’s partner who confessed to abusing the fifth grader. Doctors say her life and that of the foetus are at high risk. But ending the pregnancy is not an option.
Chile allowed abortions for medical reasons until they were outlawed in 1973 by General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. The current government of conservative President Sebastian Pinera has opposed any loosening of the prohibition.
Many Chileans were venting outrage on social media on Friday. Some have started an online campaign to demand legalisation of abortion in cases of r*pe or health risks for mother.
Chile’s Senate rejected three bills last year that would have eased the absolute ban on abortions.
One of the bills would have permitted abortion when two doctors said it was needed because of risks to a mother’s life or other medical reasons, such as a foetus with low chances of survival.
Another of the measures rejected would have allowed abortion in the event of r*pe.