THE 11-year-old girl raped by her father and pregnant with his child is a clear case for abortion, but there may be opposition from some religious organisations, former independent senator and head of the T&T Coalition Against Domestic Violence, human rights activist Diana Mahabir-Wyatt, said yesterday.
She said there were many medical complications arising out of child pregnancies, as well as mental and physical concerns.
"I think this is a good case for abortion, but you also have to take into account stringent religious bodies. There will be some religious groups against any kind of abortion. People misunderstand the laws surrounding abortion. You have to take into consideration the life and health of the young mother, her physical and mental condition," she said.
Mahabir-Wyatt said an abortion was not illegal if doctors found the mother's health and the unborn child at risk.
On Tuesday night, at a child abuse seminar in Chaguanas, head of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Victim and Witness Support Unit Margaret Sampson-Browne revealed there was a shocking increase in the number of child abuse cases in Central Trinidad, including the case of the 11-year-old pregnant girl.
Sampson-Browne said of the girl: "The sexual organs of the child are not yet developed, but she is having a child."
She said arrangements were being made to remove the child from her home and make her a ward of the State, and she would be receiving counselling and medical treatment.
Mahabir-Wyatt said, "It is dangerous to have a pregnancy at this age and if a doctor says this pregnancy will harm the girl, then an abortion will not be illegal."
Mahabir-Wyatt said the pelvis of an 11-year-old is not yet developed to carry a baby full-term. She said the unborn baby may suffer serious injury or even die before birth.
The mother is also at risk, she added.
"And if her pelvis is developed and she survives this pregnancy, no one is certain she will survive motherhood at this age. How will she survive bringing up this child, going to school, growing up and leading a normal [life]," she said.
However, Delores Robinson, programme officer at Advocates for Safe Parenthood: Improving Reproductive Equity (ASPIRE), said the child, her mother or legal guardian, should determine whether an abortion was necessary.
ASPIRE is a non-governmental, non-profit advocacy group that has lobbied for sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly in the area of the reduction of unsafe abortion.
Robinson said, "ASPIRE is not saying that she should or should not have an abortion. It is about choice".
Mahabir-Wyatt praised Sampson-Browne for her work with abused children.
"I hope somebody manages to save this child's life. I am grateful the police stepped in and saved this girl. But there are just a few police trained to handle cases of abuse. We need to train more police officers to detect evidence of child abuse," she said.