10-year-old girl raped & pregnant with twins is denied an abortion
Even those with strict anti-abortion views realize that, sometimes, extenuating circumstances make this the only reasonable alternative--however difficult and emotionally taxing for all involved in the decision-making process. Few, for instance, would argue too vociferously against an abortion being granted to a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant as a result of being viciously raped. And yet, in Senegal, a 10-year-old girl has been ordered to go through with her pregnancy or face 10 years in jail--even though the pregnancy resulted from her being raped by a neighbor.
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Fatou Kine Camara, president of the Senegalese women lawyers' association, has been relentlessly campaigning for the young girl to be given the right to a legal abortion. Unfortunately, the West African country's laws are extremely strict in regards to abortion. According to Camara, for an abortion to be legal in Senegal, three different doctors need to examine the expectant woman and determine that continuing the pregnancy would result in mortal harm to the patient. In other words, they have to believe she'd die immediately unless she terminated the pregnancy. Each doctor's certification costs 10,000 CFA francs (about $20), an exorbitant amount for an impoverished Senegalese woman.
The case sheds light on the need to reform abortion laws all over the world. After all, no 10-year-old is physically or emotionally equipped to be a parent. The mental and emotional ramifications of becoming a parent at such a young age should be readily apparent, but there are also very serious physical dangers. A girl's pelvis does not fully widen until her late teens, making it very hard for any pre-teen mom to push a baby through a birth canal that could prove much too narrow. In many cases, a caesarean is necessary and yet, in impoverished areas, few have access to this procedure.
To make this particular case all the more complex, the 10-year-old girl is pregnant with twins. The risk of her dying during childbirth or shortly thereafter, then, are quite high. Similarly, her babies might not survive the labor.
Given all these facts, it seems particularly cruel and irresponsible for anyone to advise this young girl--someone who has already been victimized by someone she presumably trusted--to carry on with an unwanted pregnancy. And for the authorities to order her to do so? Well, that's simply unconscionable. I hope they come to their senses instead or risking the life of a little girl for the sake of laws or morality.
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