Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Abortion row rocks Caribbean resort

Activists claim authorities failed a rape victim who is carrying a baby to term

Women's rights activists have called on tourists to boycott a Caribbean resort, saying authorities failed to protect the rights of an 11-year-old rape victim who is carrying the baby to term.

Activists said the case of the girl, known only as Amalia, illustrates the lack of protection for women's rights in the state of Quintana Roo, Cancun, which recently passed a law banning most elective abortions.

The girl, who was 10 years old at the time, told authorities she was raped by her stepfather, and activists said a doctor at a government hospital failed to inform her that the new law allows for rape victims to have abortions.

The child is reportedly carrying the baby to term and will give birth by caesarean section.

Local media reported that the girl's mother would not have approved of an abortion even if she had known about the exception for rape victims, but activists said she may have been influenced by right-to-life groups that backed the new law.

In recent months, more than half of Mexico's 31 states passed anti-abortion measures.

Quintana Roo has been rocked by sexual-abuse cases in the past, and activists said child rape and teen pregnancy rates are exceptionally high there.

Members of reproductive rights groups held a demonstration to announce an online campaign in English, Spanish and French asking tourists to stay away from Cancun.

"We are going to tell them not to visit Cancun because in Quintana Roo state they violate the rights of women and children," said Maria Eugenia Romero of the Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

"We are going to tell them they would be better off choosing some other tourist destination."

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