Bolivian girl, 11, impregnated by her grandfather, 61, undergoes abortion after mother relents

An 11-year-old girl who fell pregnant after being repeatedly raped by her step-grandfather in Bolivia has undergone an abortion at 21 weeks after her family, who had opposed the termination, relented.

The girl is now recovering in hospital after undergoing the procedure on Monday that her mother initially refused due to pressure from a Catholic organisation. 

The young girl was impregnated by the 61-year-old in Yapacani, which is a town located in the province of Ichilo, in the eastern department of Santa Cruz.

She had initially been set to have an abortion, local media outlet Pagina Siete said on October 21, but at the last moment the minor’s mother changed her mind and said that she would see the pregnancy through.

At first, her mother had supported the abortion, but changed her mind after a Catholic organisation called her and pressured her not to go through with the operation, according to local media outlet Debate.

An 11-year-old girl is now recovering in hospital after undergoing an abortion on Monday that her mother initially refused due to pressure from a Catholic organisation. The girl had allegedly been repeatedly raped by her 61-year-old step-grandfather and impregnated

This reportedly went against the wishes of the girl’s doctors and of the judicial authorities, who had advised that the pregnancy should be terminated, and the decision caused an outcry in the country.

But several weeks after cancelling the abortion, the minor’s mother once again changed her mind and her daughter finally underwent the operation, Debate reported on Monday, November 8.

It is not clear why the mother changed her mind.

The operation was carried out on Monday and the girl was last reported to be in a stable condition and recovering in hospital.

Jeyson Auza, Bolivia’s Minister of Health and Sports, said: ‘The girl is in a stable condition and we have taken all the precautions required by law to protect the girl’s right to health and life.’

The suspect, who has not been named, is currently being held in custody, according to local media outlet El Deber.

The 11-year-old and her unnamed 15-year-old sister had been living under the care of the suspect since last February.

This was because their mother and father, also unnamed, were working in the capital La Paz as a cook and as a bricklayer, respectively, still according to El Deber.

It was determined that the 11-year-old was 21 weeks pregnant after the first ultrasound was performed by doctors.

Abortion in generally illegal in Bolivia, However, exceptions are granted in cases of sexual assault, congenital malformations or when the mother’s life is in danger.

The 11-year-old is said to have been 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

The 11-year-old is said to have been 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

Speaking last month, 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 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 in October. ‘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.

‘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.

The 61-year-old's alleged attacks supposedly started last May in Yapacani (shown on a map) 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 61-year-old’s alleged attacks supposedly started last May in Yapacani (shown on a map) 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

Since then only a document signed by the victim informing her of the abortion procedure has been needed.

Amid speculation that it was the Catholic Church of Bolivia that originally change the mother’s mind, the church 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 said in October the girl would have to be evaluated psychologically if she had 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,’ he said at the time.

The family's lawyer Giovanni Cabello (pictured last month) announced the mother's decision to not allow her daughter to get an abortion to reporters in Bolivia last month

The family’s lawyer Giovanni Cabello (pictured last month) announced the mother’s decision to not allow her daughter to get an abortion to reporters in Bolivia last month

Bolivian Minister of the Interior, Eduardo del Castillo (pictured) said last month: 'We cannot tolerate this type of behaviour within our country and we cannot destroy the life of an 11-year-old girl'

Bolivian Minister of the Interior, Eduardo del Castillo (pictured) said last month: ‘We cannot tolerate this type of behaviour within our country and we cannot destroy the life of an 11-year-old girl’

The representative of the Yapacaní Children’s Ombudsman, Silvia Suazo, said last month: ‘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 last month 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.’ 

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