“I ate a lot and my belly grew”, the case of a girl with a disability who was raped and forced to be a mother

KM is now 24 years old with an 8-year-old son who is raised by his grandparents. She is barely aware of the stormy pregnancy that caused her to seizure at the time of delivery and that kept her in critical condition for 15 days.

Her case will be taken to international courts in 2022 because despite fulfilling all the legal clauses stipulated in Article 137 of the Guatemalan Penal Code that allows the interruption of pregnancy in case the mother’s life is in danger and after the favorable diagnosis of two doctors , the judge denied the petition and even postponed the hearing until a year later.

The case

This woman, now an adult, is identified as KM for the protection of her and her family who have been the object of questioning within her own community.

KM was born in 1996 in a rural community. At birth she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and clubfoot, a birth defect in which the feet are twisted or out of position.

Due to his conditions, for some years he was a patient of Fundabiem. Although she was recognized as a Symbol Girl, she had to abandon the therapies due to lack of resources and her mother was the one who was in charge of giving continuity to the exercises that the therapists had taught her.

During his adolescence he had seven operations on his hips and feet and despite improving physically, he always maintained a cognitive development similar to that of an eight-year-old boy.

When KM was 17 years old, she was raped by her paternal uncle and the only way her parents knew about it was because she got pregnant. This happened in 2014.

According to the organization Mujeres Generando Equidad (Asogen), which accompanies the family, they suspect that KM was subjected to continuous rape by his uncle, however, it was only evident when one of those acts resulted in a pregnancy.

“The parents’ response was immediate and focused on the safety and life of KM, they took her immediately to the health center and the first thing the mother asked was for an abortion because she was afraid of losing her daughter” , explains Ingrid Gálvez, Asogen spokeswoman.

In August 2017 and with a few weeks of pregnancy, she began the tortuous path that the family traveled to guarantee the life of KM, who at that age had heart, foot and hip defects, as well as a special psychoneurological condition.

Meanwhile, the uncle was immediately captured by the authorities and is currently serving a 17-year prison sentence for aggravated rape.

Gálvez explains that due to KM’s mental disability, she was never aware of her pregnancy. “When they asked her, she said that she had eaten a lot and that is why her belly grew,” she says.

Article 137 of the Penal Code says “Abortion performed by a doctor is not punishable, with the consent of the woman, after a favorable diagnosis from at least one other doctor; if it was carried out without the intention of directly procuring the death of the product of conception and with the sole purpose of avoiding a danger, duly established, for the life of the mother, after all scientific and technical means have been exhausted ”.

Mariana Girón, one of the lawyers accompanying the family, explains that due to a history of rape, a child protection process was carried out, since KM was a minor. “We knew that all hearings have a fairly long delay, but in this case it was to rush because every minute put his life at KM at risk. A hearing was held where the Attorney General’s Office was also present, but KM’s opinion was never taken into account and the request for therapeutic abortion was not resolved, ”he says.

For the case, the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (Inacif) carried out an expert opinion in which it indicated that the pregnancy could be carried to term “however, it is high risk and may be life-threatening.” By then KM was 14 weeks pregnant and at risk of eclampsia.

According to Girón, the final hearing was to be held five days later, but it was scheduled for a year later.

“When they asked her if she wanted to have a baby she laughed and said no, she did not have the precise knowledge of what it was to be a mother. I was not aware that I was in a state of pregnancy, “adds the lawyer.

According to the professionals, despite the fact that the judge who heard the process ignored KM’s request and diverted the discussion towards the conditions in which the delivery should take place, there was never the intention of taking care of the minor who should have been under medical observation. 24 hours a day and with strict prenatal control.


The moment of delivery

It was not yet 37 weeks of gestation when KM convulsed while eating breakfast. The lawyer says that she was taken to the hospital in an emergency, where they performed a caesarean section and the doctors took the opportunity to sterilize her without her consent.

“They say that the mother signed a consent form, but she does not know how to read or write and we do not know under what conditions the doctors informed her of what they were going to do,” says Girón.

Km was in critical condition for 15 days, due to eclampsia he had temporary loss of memory and vision. In addition, he had to return to physical therapy to walk again.

“The structural absence of the State in terms of addressing the fundamental rights of women, girls and people with disabilities generate these events that are described and that result in a series of systematic violations. It was evident that this pregnancy was high risk, and that KM was not in the physical and psychosocial conditions to bring a baby into the world. The State did not care about her life ”, analyzes the specialist in the rights of people with disabilities, Silvia Quan in the Court of Conscience that was held on December 3.

The lawyer Margarita Girón explained that they will take the case to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva, Switzerland so that it is admitted and that a specialized court be opened that dictates a sentence and that a precedent is formed in the country .


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