Pregnancy of 11-Year-Old Rape Victim Sparks Abortion Debates in Chile (VIDEO)

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By Vittorio Hernandez | July 6, 2013 5:24 PM EST

Chileans are hotly debating whether to allow an 11-year-old rape victim to abort her baby or not. The pre-teener, named in media as Belen, was raped by the partner of her mother and is now 14 weeks pregnant.

The rapist has been arrested and admitted abusing the girl who is only in fifth grade.

Chile used to allow abortions for medical reasons but outlawed the procedure in 1973 during the term of General Augusto Pinochet, while the current conservative government of President Sebastian Pinera is against lifting the restriction.

In 2013, the Senate turned down three bills proposing the easing of the absolute ban on abortions.

Doctors had warned that the foetus is at high risk, but they could not perform an abortion. This has prompted a number of Chileans to push in social media for legalisation to allow terminating pregnancy for rape cases or when the health of the mother is at risk.

One of those who signed an ongoing online petition to legalise abortion is Eduardo Hernandez, a web designer. He explained to AP, "When I heard about this little girl my first reaction was to support abortion because I think it's the best option in this case."

"It's the first online petition I've signed in my life, but I think this case really deserves it. We should have a law. I hope this case serves as precedent to have a serious discussion about abortion."

Abortion is illegal in most South and Latin American countries, but in 2012, the Argentinean Supreme Court allowed a 15-year-old girl, impregnated by her stepfather through rape, to abort the fetus.

In contrast, a New Mexico legislator is threatening to file a lawsuit against females in her state who are in a similar situation.

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