Source: Proceso.com.mx | The Dawn News | November 23, 2016
In Mexico, 18 thousand 252 women under 15 denounced having been victims of sexual abuses from January 2009 to June 2016, and only 8,5% (2.419) were offered emergency contraceptives.
But the problem is even more serious than that: the Executive Commission of Services for Victims assured that only 10% of all cases are denounced. This was stated in the report released by the Information Group on Reproductive Choice (GIRE), who obtained official data through requests for access to information and used it to develop the “Uninterrupted Violence” report.
The report quotes the “Girls, Non-Mothers” campaign launched by Amnesty International, Clacai, GIRE and Planned Parenthood Global in Latin America in the framework of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is observed on November 25, and points out that those four organizations agreed that “forced pregnancy and forced childbirth affect the lives of the girls, as it has a negative impact on their physical and mental health and in their project of life”.
It also highlighted that in Latin America 40% of teenagers were sexually abused and that girls who are victims of rape in the region live in contexts where their basic human rights are violated. The consequences of sexual violence intensify as girls are forced to bear a pregnancy as a result of abuse.
According to GIRE, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, in addition to major health risks and school desertion, are only some of the effects of forced maternity, as stated in the document entitled “Stolen Lives”, recently published by Planned Parenthood Global.
In the case of Mexico, the service of abortion to children who are victims of rape continues to be difficult to access, despite the fact that since March 2016, the Official Regulation (NOM) No. 046 clearly states that women and girls over 12 years old who have suffered sexual assault and who, as a result, have become pregnant, can attend any public health center to terminate their pregnancy, without having to file a complaint for rape, file for an authorization of a public authority (Public Ministry or judge) nor have consent of their father, mother or legal tutor.
The report goes on to say that despite the modification of the regulation, the Mexican Social Security Institute and the Institute for Security and Social Services for State Workers (ISSSTE) responded to the information requests by saying that their hospitals hadn’t performed any legal abortion in the period ranging from January 2009 to June 2016. The federal Department of Health simply replied they did not have that sort of information.
According to GIRE, every day, in Guatemala, five girls under 14 get pregnant and in Peru, four become mothers. In Ecuador, only in 2014, 1,963 girls gave birth, while in Nicaragua 8 out of 10 women who were victims of sexual violence were under 13 years old.
“We are facing a serious public health and human rights problem that affects the entire region. There is an urgent need for States to comply with their obligation to protect the human rights of girls who are victims of sexual violence in a comprehensive manner, including access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services such as emergency oral contraception and legal termination of pregnancy”, the organizations stated.
Forcing a girl to become a mother has serious consequences for her life, given that it frustrates her life project and there is a disruption in the family structure that seriously affects her economy and the social situation of the girl and her son or daughter. Likewise, it is very likely that if the girl is living in poverty, the next generation will remain poor as well, the report concludes.