THE family of an 11-year-old girl who became pregnant after her step-dad allegedly raped her have decided she will keep the baby.
The young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was allegedly attacked by the 61-year-old at her home in the Bolivian town of Yapacaní.
Ana Paola García, the CEO of Women's House – a women's charity based in the South American country – said the family found out the 11-year-old was pregnant after she told her cousin that she "felt strange movements in her belly".
The cousin went to tell her mother, the 11-year-old girl's aunt, who then filed a police complaint.
At first, the girl's family had accepted the decision to go ahead with an abortion but over the weekend had changed their mind.
They gave written consent to continue the pregnancy.
Giovanni Cabello, the family's lawyer, revealed the family's decision to local media saying: "This was a decision [to continue the pregnancy] expressed in the morning and it is inserted in the medical history so that the maternity ward and all its team are proceeding according to the will expressed by the family."
This reportedly goes against the wishes of the girl's doctors and of the judicial authorities, who had advised that the pregnancy should be terminated due to her age and the pregnancy having been the result of a rape.
García told local media that the 11-year-old "does not want to be a mother".
"What is being done with this creature is a crime," García said.
She went on to say that the girl was given the first dose of medication to terminate the pregnancy.
"It is not possible for us to force an 11-year-old girl to be in a nine-month gestation process, that is torture," García added.
The suspect, according to the local media outlet El Deber, is in custody.
The newspaper reports that the 11-year-old and her unnamed 15-year-old sister had been living under the care of the suspect since last February, because their mum and dad, were working in the capital La Paz as a cook and as a bricklayer.
Abortion has been legal in Bolivia since 1970 but only in the case of rape or incest – otherwise, it is illegal.
Eduardo del Castillo, a Bolivian minister, said the young girl would have to be psychologically evaluated if she wanted to continue with her pregnancy.
"Imagine an 11-year-old girl who has to see her son or daughter as a result of rape every day," he said.
"We cannot tolerate this type of behaviour within our country and we cannot destroy the life of an 11-year-old girl.
"We must generate the material conditions so that this pregnancy is interrupted if it is defined as such."
According to the family's lawyer, the girl is in "adequate condition, she is calm".
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