11-Year Old Chilean Girl Raped -- Legally Not Allowed To Have An Abortion

Debates Heat Up Over An 11-Year Old Girl Is Raped
Image The Associated Press

An 11-year old Chilean girl was repeatedly raped by her mother's partner for over two weeks. As Chile remains one of the most social conservative nations in Latin America, abortion debates are heating up.

After the girl's grandmother contacted the police, the partner of the victims mother was arrested in Puerto Montt — he later confessed to abusing the girl.

Social media outlets were on fire with this case. Many see this case as a huge social injustice because doctors have said that the little girl's life and the fetus are at high risk; since abortions are illegal, ending the pregnancy is not an option. Some have started an online campaign to demand legalization of abortion in cases of rape or health risks for mothers.

"When I heard about this little girl my first reaction was to support abortion because I think it's the best option in this case," Eduardo Hernandez, a 30-year-old web designer, told The Associated Press.

"It's the first online petition I've signed in my life, but I think this case really deserves it," Hernandez said. "We should have a law. I hope this case serves as precedent to have a serious discussion about abortion."

Chile's Senate rejected three bills last year that would have allowed abortions under specific circumstances.

One of the bills would have permitted abortion if two doctors said it was needed due to a mother's life being in danger, or for other medical reasons, such as a fetus that had low chances of survival. Another one of the rejected measures would have allowed abortion in the event of rape.

Chile outlawed abortions in 1973 under General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship. Prior to this, abortions were allowed only for medical reasons. Although many efforts have been made to overturn this law, all have been unsuccessful.

"The Senate has voted in favor of life, of the unborn child, a policy the government has defended," Cristian Larroulet, a top presidential aide, said after a vote on one of the bills.

Chilean laws have seemingly lagged behind other countries of the western world. In 2004 they were the last country to legalize divorce.

A woman in Chile who has an abortion can face five to 10 years in prison, and doctors who perform these procedures can expect to be behind bars for up to 15 years.

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