More than half of the girls giving birth were girls aged between 14 and 15
At least 1,000 girls aged 14 or younger gave birth in Paraguay between 2019 and 2020: Amnesty
More than 1,000 girls aged 14 or younger gave birth in Paraguay between 2019 and 2020, according to research by Amnesty International.
The youngest girl was just 13, the research by the human rights group said. Of the 1,015 babies, 694 were girls under the age of 15 and 798 were girls aged 14.
Babies given over to adoptive parents and strangers on the streets Read more
Since 2001, the average number of babies born per 1,000 Paraguayan women increased to 14.5 from nine, but was lower for girls aged 14 to 15, with an average of 15.6 births per 1,000 girls, Amnesty said.
Over the same period, the number of women giving birth to babies aged 15 to 19 rose to 37 from 27, while the number of deliveries for women aged 40 and above rose to 21 from 10.4.
“The girls can be victims of forced marriage, forced pregnancy or sexual exploitation, which puts them in danger of a traumatic birth experience, followed by grave health consequences,” the report said.
The youngest girl born in the first nine months of the year was 14-year-old Eva, whose mother was just 15 and whose pregnant father was 22. Another, Cecelia, was 17 and had been just 13 when she gave birth.
Cecelia’s mother had forced the 14-year-old into a clandestine marriage, knowing she would be forced to have a baby.
“She is not fit to have a baby and I didn’t like the situation, but I gave birth,” she told the human rights group.
Most of the girls had been forced into a secret marriage, though parents and relatives also assisted in underage marriage, at least in some cases.
Teenage pregnancies not viewed as a health issue in Paraguay Read more
One teenage girl told Amnesty she was forced to have a baby by her parents after a “mysterious illness” wiped out her ability to conceive.
Human rights activists said the situation pointed to a deeper culture of child marriage. Paraguay’s Council of Ministers is seeking to collect data to collect information on children married at 15 or younger.