Girl raped by father should have received abortion access, U.N. tells Peru

A young girl who was raped by her father and became pregnant should have received information and access, a United Nations committee told Peru last week. Photo courtesy of Hospital Regional Guillermo Diaz de la Vega/Facebook
A young girl who was raped by her father and became pregnant should have received information and access, a United Nations committee told Peru last week. Photo courtesy of Hospital Regional Guillermo Diaz de la Vega/Facebook

June 18 (UPI) -- A young girl who was raped by her father and became pregnant should have received abortion information and access, a United Nations committee told Peru last week.

The girl, identified by the pseudonym Camila, was first raped by her father when she was 9 years old and was continuously abused until she became pregnant in 2017 at the age of 13, the U.N. Child Rights Committee said in a statement.


Camila, now 18, brought her case before the Child Rights Committee claiming that her rights under the Child Rights Convention had been violated.

Abortion is criminalized in Peru except to o prevent a risk to the life or a severe and permanent threat to the mother's health. The U.N. officials detailed a pattern of Camila's "re-victimization" by national authorities, who prosecuted and convicted her after she had a miscarriage.


The U.N. has since asked Peru to decriminalize abortion in all cases of child pregnancy and to ensure safe post-abortion care for pregnant children, particularly in cases of rape and incest.

The harrowing story began in November 2017 when teachers at Camila's school told her mother that she seemed isolated and depressed and had missed class, U.N. officials said in its decision in the case.

Camila then told her mother that she had not menstruated for two months, who then had her take a rapid pregnancy test which came back positive. After the pregnancy was confirmed by a blood test at a private clinic in Abancay, Camila revealed to her mother and godmother that her father had raped her.

Days later, Camila again claimed she was raped by her father to workers at a health clinic in Huanipaca. She was taken to Guillermo Díaz de la Vega Hospital in Abancay where she tearfully told hospital staff that she did not want to have her father's child. She was not told of her right to an abortion.

Camila reiterated to hospital staff during a check-up the following week that she did not wish to have her father's baby. Instead of advising her of her right to an abortion, hospital workers ordered an ultrasound.


The girl, crying "uncontrollably," was taken back to the health clinic the following month where she reiterated for the third time that she did not want to have her father's baby. Hospital staff responded by telling her about the importance of a proper diet during pregnancy.

Camila became suicidal when health workers visited her home and advised her of a proposed birth plan for the fetus - which led her mother to petition Peru's Health Ministry for permission for a voluntary abortion, consistent with the laws of the country. She never heard back about her petition.

Camila's mother simultaneously petitioned the prosecutor in charge of criminal investigations of rape to intervene and also did not receive a response from that petition.

The girl was hospitalized the following week for severe abdominal pain and was given medication to prevent miscarriage, despite her wishes not to give birth to her father's baby, but her condition worsened and she was ultimately given emergency surgery to remove the fetus.

Instead of disposing of the fetal remains, the hospital sent them to Camila's godmother, who buried them under the patio of her home. Health clinic workers who were not advised of the emergency procedure harassed the girl at her home for days until police intervened and blamed the girl for the miscarriage.


Camila filed a complaint with Peru's Health Ministry in March 2018, requesting a resolution to the ordeal she endured. Nearly a year later, her case had still not been resolved and she requested a final ruling on her complaint from the Health Ministry.

The Health Ministry determined that Guillermo Díaz de la Vega Hospital failed to comply with legal requirements to convene a board to evaluate her wishes for an abortion. The ministry also found that the Huanipaca clinic failed to comply with standards for high-risk pregnancy care for girls.

However, the Health Ministry also found that Camila had not sufficiently proven that medical workers were responsible for not having informed her about her right to a legal abortion or responsible for breaching her privacy by requesting police intervention.

Amid the standoff with health officials, Camila was enduring another with police and prosecutors.

In the days after Camila advised her mother she had been raped, Camila's godmother filed a complaint of rape against her father at the Huanipaca Police Station. Camila testified that her father raped her and that she did not want to continue with the pregnancy.

"The same day, Camila's mother reiterated her account of the sexual violence and her daughter's rejection of the pregnancy," U.N. officials said in the document.


Later in November 2017, prosecutors ordered both Camila and her father to again testify. Camila's father did not appear at the court but the girl, once again, recounted how her father raped her.

In December 2017, prosecutors appeared at the home where Camila had been raped. The girl's father admitted to authorities that he raped his daughter, pointed to the "exact place of the rape" and was arrested.

Despite his confession and Camila's testimony, prosecutors called the case "complicated" and delayed the investigation until after the birth of the baby so as not to put the life of the unborn fetus at risk. Prosecutors and police failed to notify Camila of her legal right to an abortion.

After her miscarriage, prosecutors turned their sites on the girl and sent a social worker to interview hospital staff about her miscarriage for an investigation for the crime of self-abortion. The prosecutor, during the investigation, even requested to have the fetal remains exhumed.

Camila's father later claimed that the girl was not his daughter and that she had agreed to sexual relations with him. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay about $14,000 dollars in restitution to the girl.


Camila was convicted of self-abortion based on her statements that she had wanted to end the pregnancy the following year. The girl appealed the conviction which was overturned in June 2019.

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