Infant pregnancies in Paraguay: “Girls are unprotected”

Paraguay has the highest adolescent pregnancy rate in South America, with almost 20,000 pregnancies per year. Many of these cases are the consequence of sexual abuse, and more than 80% take place in the family environment, AI reported in a report.

Arturo Ojeda is director of the Paraguayan Red Cross, which runs the Dr. Andrés Gubetich Maternal Home. It receives underage girls who are victims of abuse and explains that the situation in which the little ones arrive is very difficult and even, They are not even aware of their pregnancy status.

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“Usually we receive them from the 20th week of pregnancy, we give all the attention that has to do with reception, food, health, because we have a hospital where we also take care of girls, all prenatal follow-up is done, also what has to do with education. They are girls who are pregnant, all come from a situation of abuse because they are minors “ Ojeda indicated and added that their condition depends a lot on their age, “in many cases they are not even aware of the situation until the child is born. Right now we have two 9-year-old girls, one 11, 13 and 15 ″, assured.

“There are no comprehensive protection mechanisms”

Mirta Moraga, lawyer and founder of the Feminist Legal Clinic, blamed the State for the absence of prevention and sexual education policies that, according to her, are one of the causes of this problem. “There are no comprehensive prevention mechanisms, cases of abuse are mostly known with pregnancy and many are intrafamily abuse.”

Moraga criticized that in 2017 there was a whole campaign against gender education: “The Minister of Education at that time, Enrique Rierra, who is now a Senator, what he did was to issue a resolution that prohibited gender theory or ideology, So teachers do not address gender issues and that also includes, for example, sexual violence and, in general, gender violence and intrafamily violence. They are messages from the State to say there is no politics and we don’t want there to be either, ”he said.

The jurist in turn ensures that these restrictive laws on sexual education They have made it taboo to talk about these issues and this contributes to a silence and the persistence of abuses, “The boys and girls are unprotected” he affirmed.

“Girls represent 1 in 10 maternal deaths”

Moraga also criticized the lack of coherence in the laws that leave minors without protection of their rights. “The law establishes that women who give birth and are minors, cannot by themselves recognize their children. In order to legally register them, they have to be accompanied by their parents or guardians and guard it, that is, the legal responsibility of these children remains with that responsible adult until the mother reaches 18 years of age. Then I force you to give birth, but I myself tell you that you cannot take care of your son or your daughter ”.

The abortion regulations in Paraguay are among the most conservative in the region, penalizing the procedure in almost all circumstancesexcept when the mother’s life is in danger.

According to AI girls and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 represent one in ten maternal deaths, and 13% of maternal deaths caused by unsafe abortions.

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