Despite an international outcry and a plea from her mother, Paraguay authorities have denied an abortion to a 10-year-old girl believed raped by her stepfather. The Catholic country only allows an abortion if the mother's life is in danger.
The girl is one of three siblings who shared a rented room with their mother and stepfather in the town of Luque. The mother reported to authorities over a year ago that her husband was sexually abusing her daughter, but nothing was done. The girl in now about 22 weeks pregnant.
"Right now, there is no reason to interrupt the pregnancy," Lida Sosa, director of healthcare programs at the ministry of public health and wellness, told the Guardian. "She has no complications at all."
The girl was taken to a shelter and her mother was imprisoned last month, accused of failing to protect her child. The stepfather has fled.
The international legal advocacy group the Center for Reproductive Rights is trying to battle the decision in court, and has launched an online petition challenging the move.
Pregnancy and birth can be health threatening for a child, and dangerous psychologically, according to medical experts. The girl weighs less than 70 pounds.
"The physical and psychological impact of forcing this young girl to continue with an unwanted pregnancy is tantamount to torture," said Guadalupe Marengo of Amnesty International.
Central and South America has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. Abortion is against the law in all circumstances — even if a mother's life is in danger — in Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, reports the Daily Beast.