The UN Urged Peru To Relax Its Abortion Stance. Lawmakers Did the Opposite

Across Latin America, a backlash against women’s rights is underway and girls are criminalized for miscarrying

Harriet Barber
June 6, 2024

Camila’s body folds in on itself, eyes fixated on the cuffs of her sweater and thick black hair shielding her face. The 19-year-old, an Indigenous teenager from the Peruvian mountains, sits close to her lawyer, arms touching, in a small office overlooking Lima’s skyline. In clipped and hushed sentences, she begins her story.

At the age of 9, Camila was raped by her father. He ordered her not to tell anyone, threatening to kill her and her mother and brother if she did. For a while, his threats worked and she stayed silent. His vicious assault was the start of years of violence, abuse that would make Camila pregnant at the age of 13 and leave her ostracized from her community.


Peru allows abortion of 11-year-old rape victim after UN pressure

August 17, 2023

LIMA - An 11-year-old rape victim was allowed an abortion in Peru over the weekend after being initially refused the procedure, in a case that rights groups say highlights the lack of support for minors who suffer sexual abuse.

The girl, publicly identified only as "Mila," was raped for years by her stepfather, according to a police report. Earlier this month, Mila - approaching 18 weeks pregnant - was turned away at a hospital in the Amazon region of Loreto, which refused to perform the abortion.


Pregnant 11-year-old girl denied abortion after stepfather viciously raped her

The Peruvian child's advocates are currently fighting the decision, which included separating her from her mother. The case highlights Peru's problem with sexual violence and underage pregnancy among girls.

Sat, Aug 12, 2023

Recent tragedies in Peru have brought the issue of denying abortion to child rape victims into the global spotlight. The United Nations, concerned about the violation of children's rights, has called for a reevaluation of the country's approach to such cases.

In a significant ruling issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in mid-June, the Peruvian state was found to have violated the rights of a 13-year-old indigenous girl named Camila (pseudonym).


Peru denies abortion to girl raped by her stepfather

The United Nations have called on the government to reconsider the case of the 11-year-old, which comes just two months after a 13-year-old rape victim was also prevented from ending her pregnancy

Renzo Gómez Vega
AUG 10, 2023

In mid-June, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) issued a historic ruling: it found that the Peruvian state violated the rights of a 13-year-old indigenous girl called Camila (pseudonym), who was the victim of incest and rape, by not providing her with information on or access to legal and safe abortion. In the resolution, the CRC urged Peru to decriminalize abortion in all cases of child pregnancy and to amend the regulations governing access to therapeutic abortion to provide for its specific application to girls. It also called for the creation of a cross-cutting mechanism to ensure that victims are not retraumatized. Two months later, a very similar case shows that the Peruvian government has not heeded these calls.

In this new case, the girl in question is 11 years old and is called Mila — not only to protect her identity, but also to make it clear that her rights have been violated just like Camila’s. Mila comes from a humble area of Iquitos, the capital of the department of Loreto, which is a gateway to the Amazon Rainforest. She has been systematically abused by her stepfather since she was six, and a month ago, she found out that she was 13 weeks pregnant.


Peru Should Provide Comprehensive Reproductive Care for Girls

UN Committee Finds Peru Violated Girl’s Human Rights, Urges Abortion Reform

Cristina Quijano Carrasco, Researcher, Women's Rights
June 20, 2023

When Camila (a pseudonym), an Indigenous girl in rural Peru, was 13, she became pregnant after years of rape by her father. Authorities denied her request for an abortion, even though the pregnancy posed serious risks to her life and health. Later, when Camila had a miscarriage and sought emergency health care, authorities prosecuted her – and forced her through a traumatizing court process.

Abortions in Peru are punishable by up to two years in prison, except when the life or health of the woman, girl, or pregnant person is in danger. Camila’s case fit this exception for what are known as “therapeutic abortions.” Even so, she was convicted in 2018 and only acquitted on appeal a year later.


Girl raped by father should have received abortion access, U.N. tells Peru

By Adam Schrader
June 18, 2023

A young girl who was raped by her father and became pregnant should have received abortion information and access, a United Nations committee told Peru last week.

The girl, identified by the pseudonym Camila, was first raped by her father when she was 9 years old and was continuously abused until she became pregnant in 2017 at the age of 13, the U.N. Child Rights Committee said in a statement.


Peru violated child rape victim’s rights by failing to guarantee access to abortion and criminally prosecuting her for self-abortion, UN Committee finds

13 June 2023

GENEVA – The UN Child Rights Committee found that Peru has violated the rights to health and life of an indigenous and rural girl victim of rape by failing to provide her with information and access to legal and safe abortion.

The Committee published its decision today after hearing the complaints filed by Camila (pseudonym), who was raped by her father from age nine until she became pregnant at age 13.


Reproductive control of Indigenous women continues around the world, say survivors and researchers

Survivors of forced sterilization and coerced contraception from Canada, Peru and Indonesia will meet with researchers to share stories, heal and advocate for change.

June 27, 2022
by Gillian Rutherford

Survivors of forced sterilization and coerced contraception from Canada, Peru and Indonesia will gather with academic researchers at a summit in Edmonton this summer to share stories, heal through art and ceremony, and set an agenda for change.

The full extent of reproductive control practices around the world is not known, but they have been historically — and continue to be — targeted at Indigenous, poor and migrant women, according to principal investigator Denise Spitzer, professor in the School of Public Health and former Canada Research Chair in Gender, Migration and Health.


Looking back on the successes of the International Safe Abortion Day 2021

10 December 2021
FIGO Advocating for Safe Abortion Project

For International Safe Abortion Day (ISAD), marked on 28 September, the 10 national member societies FIGO supports through its Advocating for Safe Abortion Project developed educational activities and awareness-raising campaigns in their countries and communities.

“International Safe Abortion Day is about making what is often ignored – the preventable pandemic of unsafe abortions -  visible. As a committed health care community we come together to demonstrate what solutions must be implemented. Together with our partners, we raise our voices to dismantle abortion-related stigma which is the enemy of women/girls’ right to claim access to safe abortion – time-sensitive essential health care.  This year from Latin America to Africa we are proud to share the efforts of our OBGYN member societies, and all that they are doing to stand up for women/girls’ health care and human rights.”
– Jessica Morris, Senior Project Manager, Advocating for Safe Abortion Project, FIGO


Increase in Maternal Deaths: The Silent Impact of Covid-19 on Latin America

The scale of the health emergency led to restrictions and closures in reproductive health services for months.  Artwork by Leila Arenas

International Campaign for Safe Abortion
May 21, 2021

With health systems focused on containing the virus, women have experienced severe hardships when trying to access reproductive health services, such as perinatal care, contraceptive methods and safe abortion services. The monitoring carried out in nine countries in the region is showing that these limitations have led to an increase in maternal deaths. Just in Peru, 433 expectant mothers passed away between January and December of 2020, a number not seen in a decade. This year, more than 90 deaths have been registered up to March 9th. If we continue on this path, specialists asked warn, the indicators could be even worse than those reported during the first few months of the pandemic.