Eleven-year-old rape victim gives birth in Paraguay

A screenshot of the girl's mother (left) being interviewed by a US TV reporter.
A screenshot of the girl's mother (left) being interviewed by a US TV reporter.CNN

ASUNCION (AFP) - An 11-year-old Paraguayan girl who was raped by her mother's boyfriend gave birth on Thursday, a doctor said.

The case caused an uproar in this traditionally Catholic country and abroad because authorities had refused to let the girl have an abortion.

The practice is illegal here except when the mother's life is deemed to be in danger.

In April, authorities ruled that the pregnancy could proceed.

The girl was 10 was she was raped and turned 11 in May.

She gave birth on Thursday by C-section to a girl that weighed 3.5 kilos, said Dolores Castellanos, the doctor that monitored the child's pregnancy.

The girl has named the baby Milagros, which is Spanish for miracles.

The baby was born in week 37 of the pregnancy.

The girl will remain under observation for 72 hours, said Castellanos, head of child and adolescent medicine at the Asuncion hospital where the baby was born.

Mario Villalba, director of the Red Cross Hospital, said the delivery "was like any other Cesarean, without complications, the difference being the age."

Asked if the child will be able to nurse the baby, Villalba said, "we'll see how she does as a mother."

The baby's father, Gilberto Martinez Zarate, age 42, was taken into custody in May and is awaiting trial on rape charges. He could get between 12 and 15 years if convicted.

The girl's mother was also arrested for neglect but allowed to visit her daughter during the pregnancy.

The case reverberated far outside Paraguay, with UN experts criticising the Paraguayan government for refusing to consider an abortion.

Unicef said girls in Paraguay are not protected from sexual predators.

Amnesty International called on the government Thursday to repeal the country's strict anti-abortion law.

It said the girl was lucky to be alive.

Erika Guevara, Amnesty's director for the Americas, 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."