In Puebla, Mexico, located an hour and a half east of Mexico City, a ten-year-old girl gave birth via cesarean section on October 22nd. She was 31 weeks along, and suffering from seizures, which is why she ended up in the hospital.
Both the girl and the baby are okay, but the baby is still in the hospital.
The first question, of course, is how did this 10 year old become pregnant? The authorities are looking into the matter to determine if she was raped. In Mexico (with the exception of Mexico City), it is illegal for a woman to have an abortion, unless she can prove she was sexually assaulted. If she can’t prove this, she may be fined or placed in jail. It is worth noting that there have been several cases of women being sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for this. That doesn’t exactly set a strong precedent for coming forward if someone has been raped and wants to get an abortion. Even more troubling, some research I did online suggested that Mexican law does not define incest as rape, but as consensual sex between family members (!!!).
This case is a perfect of example of why such laws are problematic. We don’t have the full story yet, so we don’t know what exactly happened, but at minimum it seems very unusual for a ten-year-old to be pregnant. Besides the obvious that she is a CHILD and therefore does not have the ability to even consent to sexual intercourse. Why should she have to “prove” she was raped if she wants to get an abortion for a high-risk pregnancy? Her uterus is most likely not yet fully developed yet, and cannot carry a pregnancy to term without significant dangers to her health.
And without access to legal abortion, young girls and women are likely to turn to unlicensed, dangerous people who lie about their backgrounds and perform abortions on women unfortunate enough to cross their paths. Though the whole “back-alley” abortion thing seems kind of cliché at this point, it unfortunately is a stereotype for a reason: these things happen.
I am glad the girl and her child turned out okay, but I wish that our world respected women and girls more, such that this poor girl wouldn’t have had to go through all this. I wonder if she can even have children in the future. :(