Mexico Compensates Rape Victim for Denying Her Right to an Abortion

Nearly seven years after Paulina Ramirez became pregnant from a rape attack in her home by a heroin addict, the Mexican government has agreed to pay her reparations for forcing her to carry the pregnancy to term. Marta Lamas, founder of the Reproductive Choice Information Group, declared to the Times, “This is a triumph for all women. After six years, the government has finally acknowledged that it denied this young woman her rights.”

Abortion is legal in Mexico in cases of rape or where the woman’s life is endangered. When Ramirez was raped at the age of 13, she and her mother decided to terminate the resulting pregnancy, but officials continually delayed the procedure, forcing her to carry the pregnancy to term. According to a new report from Human Rights Watch, rape victims in Mexico often face hostile officials who actively prevent women from accessing legal abortion services.

In what Luisa Cabal, director of the Center for Reproductive Rights’ International Legal Program, called “the most important legal victory for women in Mexico in a decade,” the state will reimburse roughly $40,000 in medical and legal fees, as well as provide free public education for Ramirez’s six-year-old son, according to the Times. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Silvia Resendiz, a member of the women’s rights group Alaide Foppa, which was involved with the case, stated that the government will “modify laws and regulations so that the Paulina case is not repeated.”

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Feminist Daily News Wire 3/8/06; LA Times 3/8/06; San Diego Union-Tribune 3/9/06

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