Paraguay’s Schoolgirl Mothers
In Paraguay, two girls under 14 give birth every day. It has been called an epidemic. So why are Paraguayan children so vulnerable to abuse?
In Paraguay, the case of a 10 year old girl who became pregnant after her step-father allegedly raped her became front-page news across Latin America. Abortion is legal in this small South American nation only if the mother's life is deemed to be in danger. In this case, the authorities ruled there was no threat to the girl, and the pregnancy continued. But this isn't a one-off example of children getting pregnant: more than 700 girls aged 14 and under gave birth in 2014. That's more or less two a day. Linda Pressly meets some of the schoolgirl mothers, and explores the reasons why Paraguayan girls are especially vulnerable to abuse.
(Photo: Twelve-year-old Perla and her one-year-old son are looked after in the Casa Rosa Maria, a mother-and-baby home in Asuncion run by the Catholic Church)