Chile president Sebastián Piñera sparks outrage by praising 'maturity' of rape victim aged 11 for keeping baby
Psychologist criticises Sebastián Piñera, saying girl compared her baby to 'a doll' in TV interview
Wednesday 10 July 2013
Chile's president Sebastián Piñera has come under fire for praising an 11-year-old rape victim's decision to keep her baby.
President Piñera commended the child, known only as Belén, for her "wisdom and depth [after] she said that, despite the pain the man who raped her caused, she would love and support her baby."
Belén made the comments in an appearnce on national television. Mr Piñera's response has reignited old divisions in the South American nation, one of the most conservative in the region, where abortion remains illegal under all circumstances.
Belén, who is 14 weeks pregnant, was reportedly abused by her stepfather, who has subsequently been arrested. Chile's child protection agency also appealed for Belén's mother to be kept away from the child, after she told local media that the sexual relationship was consensual.
Piñera has asked for the health minister to personally supervise Belén's case to ensure her health and safety.
The Chilean president said he would back a medical intervention to deliver the baby prematurely after the pregancy reached 22 weeks, if it was deemed necessary to protect Belén's health.
"In our country the woman always occupies first place and we'll protect Belen's life with the latest medical science and the full care of the public health system," he said.
Child psychologists have criticised Piñera and said that Belén, who compared her baby to "a doll" in the TV interview, has no real concept of what her pregnancy will be like.
"What's worst for this girl: having the baby, dealing with the stigma her whole life and seeing her rapist's features in her child or interrupting the pregnancy and trying to overcome the ordeal?" leftist politician José Antonio Viera-Gallo asked on national radio station Cooperativa's website.
Chile is only one of only six countries in the world that bans abortion under all circumstances.
According to a national campaign to legalise abortion for medical reasons, 66 per cent of the population are in favour of amending the law to allow the process if the mother is in danger,in the case of rape, or if the baby's chances of survival are minimal.
Among the supporters for a change in the law is Michelle Bachelet, Chile's ex-president and until recently the director of UN Women, the organisation's gender equality body.
Bachelet, also in favour of gay marriage, is due to stand for president again in general elections on 17 November.
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
- 4 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 5 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
Duchess of Alba dead: Billionaire Spanish duchess who lived life by her own rules, dies at 88
New York snowstorm: Death toll rises to 10 as residents battle with further snowfall
Chelsea balcony collapse: Two people dead and six injured in London
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? And why has nobody taken legal action?
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...
£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...