Teen Mothers in Paraguay



Ten-year-old Mainumby became front-page news in April in Paraguay, the South American nation.  She first complained of stomach ache in January and three months later, a hospital doctor scanned the child, which revealed her 20 weeks’  pregnancy.  Of the population of seven million people more than 700 girls aged 14 and younger gave birth to children last year.  The child pregnancy is caused by sexual violence and the perpetrators frequently escape punishment.  The victim faces forced child pregnancy and it’s a human rights issue.  There’s a very strong religious fundamentalist influence that prevents abortion.

According to Paraguay’s Ministry of Health, 704 girls aged 14 and younger gave birth last year.  This data may not be accurate as communities are far flung and inaccessible by road.  The problem is getting worse by the year says, Mirtha Rivarola from the UNFPA, the UN’s Population Fund.

Amnesty International campaigned for Mainumby to be allowed to have an abortion.  The health authorities did not budge as abortion is allowed only if a mother’s life is deemed to be in danger.  Mainumby has since given birth to a baby girl at the risk of her life.

The children call abortion as  ‘appendicitis with little feet’ and the wealthy children know where and for how much (money) the ‘appendicitis with little feet’ are provided.  The exposure of  Mainumby’s pregnancy increased the report of child sexual abuse  from 750 to more than 950. The attitude of the perpetrators is appalling.  They don’t understand that it’s illegal and they seldom have feelings of guilt.  In Paraguay, the society condemns the victim and there is little state support for young mothers.  Most help is provided by charities and the Catholic Church.

In Paraguay’s capital, Asuncion, a local Catholic Church is running a mother-and-baby home where about 200 of these teen-mothers are being provided with good health care, clothing and food.

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