The Observatory of Sexual and Reproductive Health (Osar) reports that by August this year, 1,457 children were born to mothers between the ages of 10 and 14. Alta Verapaz is the department with the most pregnancies in this segment that have occurred so far this month, 197. It is not the only one with high figures, as Huehuetenango shows a similar number, 194.
They also learn that there are two pregnant children under the age of 14 and they have died, one of them committing suicide. The case happened in Alta Verapas, says Mirna Cherna Gora from Osar, the minor was a victim of sexual violence and the person who abused her rejected the baby. An understatement of deaths is not excluded.
Pregnancy in girls under the age of 14 is a product of sexual violence within the meaning of the Criminal Code. These are cases that should be treated as medical emergencies and there are 29 clinics installed in hospitals that are required to help them.
Nine out of 10 maternal deaths can be prevented, but the lack of timely medical care makes this figure negative. With the covid-19 pandemic, the scenario has been complicated as for months the service of health centers and posts has been interrupted and supplies for patient care are scarce.
El Ossar also reported the deaths of another 26 youths between the ages of 15 and 19. Poor access to health services, such as complications during childbirth, are some of the causes – high blood pressure and hemorrhage during childbirth.
Montenegro reports that 90 percent of sexual violence is committed by people who belong to the same family circle as the girl or adolescent, and in 30 percent of cases, the father is the one who commits the crime.
Pregnancy in girls usually goes unnoticed during the first months of pregnancy, when the minor creates some physical discomfort, her condition is established through a medical examination.
Also read: Teen pregnancies: Pandemic leaves legacy of underreporting
These cases must be treated very carefully, as the girl’s body is not prepared to give birth to a boy. There are threats of abortion, urinary tract infections and malnutrition problems.
The care protocol states that these births should be accompanied by caesarean section, given the risk of vaginal delivery. But they are usually cared for in homes by a midwife.
In Guatemala, 20 percent of the pregnancies that occur each year are among women under the age of 19, which increases the disparity in inequality in the country, as it changes the life projects of young women who stop studying, has a corresponding impact on their health and that of their children and further fosters the deterioration of the family environment.
From January to August this year, 1,457 girls under the age of 14 became mothers as a result of sexual abuse, reports @osarguatemala1. During this period, two minors died during pregnancy. pic.twitter.com/IfoZ8P35CL
– Ana Lucia Ola (@aola_pl) September 26, 2022
The five departments reporting the most teenage pregnancies by August 2022 are Huehuetenango with 5,966, Alta Verapaz, 5,337, Guatemala, 5,108, Quiché, 4,277, and San Marcos, with 3,681.
Given this scenario, Osar refers that there are two fronts that the state must deal with, one is that of adolescent mothers, most of whom live in conditions of poverty and in circles of violence, condemnation for them and their children Therefore, they must receive social protection and legal support to have access to justice, since 97 percent of cases go unpunished.
As an example, Montenegro cites the case of a young woman who filed a report in 2019, her aggressor was caught this year, he was imprisoned for two days, but was released because according to the law the victim is not older than 12 years , so the foreman who raped her had the option of house arrest. And in this case, as in others, Ossar’s representative assures that justice moves slowly.
The other scenario is prevention through sexual and reproductive education for adolescents.