An 11-year-old girl who previously gave birth after suffering a rape aged just 10 is now expecting a second baby, officials in Brazil have confirmed.
The pregnancy was discovered on Friday when the girl was examined while staying at a Child Services shelter in Teresina, Piaui, north-eastern Brazil.
Child Services immediately reported the findings to the Police Department for Child and Adolescent Protection (DPCA), whose investigation into the rape and pregnancy begins today.
But the girl’s father told police and local media that his daughter has refused to reveal the father of her second baby, and there are currently no official suspects.
Highly respected Brazilian news outlet Globo confirmed the father said his child will carry her baby to term, even though abortion is legal in cases of rape under Brazilian law.
The disturbing case comes just months after Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro – a conservative Catholic – denounced another 11-year-old rape victim’s abortion as ‘unacceptable’, triggering a wave of pro-choice sentiment across the country.
Picture shows the police station for the Protection of Children and Adolescents (DPCA), in Teresina, Brazil
The girl whose pregnancy was discovered by Child Services on Friday fell pregnant for the first time in January 2021 after she was raped.
A cousin, who was allegedly one of the suspects, was murdered shortly after news of the crime broke, though his killer was not found and the motive was never officially established.
The child’s parents are divorced and live separately, but they both decided their child would carry the baby to term against the advice of medical and legal professionals.
Following the birth, the girl and her infant son had been living at her father’s house but he requested that Child Services took the pair into care in August, citing behavioural problems.
Once in care, workers quickly spotted that the girl was acting strangely and decided to conduct a medical examination.
Child Services spokeswoman Renata Bezerra said: ‘At the shelter, they noticed her behaviour was different and she was taken to the maternity hospital.
‘They did some routine exams so she could remain at the shelter and she was asked to undergo a Beta-hCG test.
‘The test came back positive, indicating that she was 10 weeks and one day pregnant.’
Child Services established the girl must have been impregnated in June. It is thought she was living at her father’s house at the time, but this has not been confirmed.
Workers notified the girl’s parents of her pregnancy on Friday and strongly advised them to authorise an abortion, but both the father and mother refused.
Bezerra said: ‘On Friday, when we arrived at her house with a positive pregnancy test, we tried to urge her to get a legal abortion, via the Public Prosecution Service, but we needed her parents’ authorisation. And her mother wouldn’t authorise it.’
Officers at the DPCA have now opened an investigation into the girl’s rape and impregnation, with inquiries beginning on Monday.
The suspect, if caught, faces a prison sentence of between eight and 15 years for sex with a minor aged under 14.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro – a conservative Catholic – recently denounced another 11-year-old rape victim’s abortion as ‘unacceptable’, triggering a wave of pro-choice sentiment across the country
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in June angered pro-choice advocates when he denounced an 11-year-old rape victim’s abortion.
The girl was finally able to receive an abortion during the week of June 20 after a lengthy legal process which saw a judge encourage her ‘to hold on a little more’ to save the baby.
She was thought to be around seven months pregnant at the time of the abortion, a legal right granted to victims of rape.
Upon hearing the news, Bolsonaro tweeted: ‘When it comes to a baby at seven months of gestation, it does not matter how it was conceived or whether (abortion) is allowed by the law or not.
‘It is unacceptable to take the life of this helpless being!’
In 2018, a paper published by Brazil’s Notifiable Diseases Information System (SINAN) revealed that there were more than 58,000 cases of rape of children aged 9 and under between 2011-2017 in the country.
And between 2017 and 2020, more than 74,000 children aged 10 to 14 were raped, according to data presented by Unicef and the Brazilian Forum on Public Security.
The conservative Catholic leader has often spoke of his desire to outlaw abortion on all grounds, but the tweet caused a major backlash among pro-choice advocates in Brazil.
The slogan ‘A child is not a mother’ went viral on social media in the aftermath of the tweet and a slew of abortion rights advocates, including medical professionals, called on the Ministry of Health to ensure that minors subjected to rape were in no way restricted from accessing legal abortions.