Brazil: outcry as religious extremists harass child seeking abortion

Scores of Brazilian women have taken to the streets to protect a 10-year-old child who was being persecuted by religious extremists for trying to legally undergo an abortion after allegedly being raped by her uncle.

The girl, from São Mateus, a small town in the south-eastern state of Espírito Santo, was admitted to hospital on 7 August complaining of abdominal pain and doctors confirmed she was pregnant.

The child told police she had been abused by her uncle since age six and had stayed silent out of fear. The 33-year-old man is reportedly on the run.

Brazil’s highly restrictive abortion laws – largely written in 1940 – permit terminations in cases of rape, when the mother’s life is at risk and when the birth defect anencephaly is detected.

Yet despite this, the child was forced to fly more than 900 miles to the north-eastern city of Recife for the procedure, following a highly politicized legal battle which saw one hospital in the girl’s home state refuse to treat her.

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