An 11-year-old girl has given birth in Paraguay after allegedly being raped by her stepfather and denied an abortion in the predominately Catholic country. Her case sparked an international outcry after Paraguay's health ministry rejected a case for abortion, which is only allowed in cases where the mother's life is in danger.
The girl, who has not been named for her own protection, was raped when she was 10, said officials. The director of the Red Cross hospital in the capital, Asuncion, said the girl and her baby daughter, who was delivered by Caesarean section on 13 August, are both doing well. "The mother is recovering well from the surgery," Dr Mario Villalba said, adding that the baby was born with a normal weight of 3.5kg (8lb).
The girl has named the baby, which was born in week 37 of the pregnancy, Milagros - Spanish for "miracles". She will remain under observation for 72 hours. Her stepfather, aged 42, was taken into custody in May and is awaiting trial on rape charges. He denies any wrongdoing, and could face 12 to 15 years if convicted. The girl's mother was charged with negligence but allowed to visit her daughter during her pregnancy.
The Paraguayan government's refusal to allow the pregnancy to be terminated angered human rights groups, which argued that the decision was inhumane and dangerous. According to the World Health Organization, complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among adolescent girls in developing countries, while maternal mortality rates are highest among girls under 15.
On 13 August, Amnesty International's director for the Americas, Erika Guevara, said the fact that the child survived "does not excuse the human rights violations she suffered at the hands of the Paraguayan authorities, who decided to gamble with her health, life and integrity despite overwhelming evidence that this pregnancy was extremely risky and despite the fact that she was a rape victim and a child".