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Helping Those in Need Can Lead to a Jail Sentence: A Venezuelan Injustice

The young girl gripped her mother’s hand while she spoke about being repeatedly raped by her neighbor, on at least six occasions. With no doubt, she became pregnant; at the very young age of 13. She did not want to keep the baby.

The young girl and her mother. Photo from the New York Times

The young girl and her mother sought help from Vannesa Rosales, the young girl’s former teacher, who gladly gave her pills so the young girl could abort the pregnancy, but in Venezuela, it's illegal to abort a child, unless the mother’s life is in danger. The mother must go through a lengthy and hushed process that involves getting permission from a hospital’s ethics board. After spending months in prison, Rosales was released on house arrest, and six months later is still awaiting her day in court. She faces up to a decade in prison for facilitating an abortion and for conspiracy to commit a crime.

Nearby, Argentina become one of the largest countries to accept abortion, however, since Venezuela is a Catholic country they still do not think abortion is the right thing to do. The young girl’s mother was also arrested and jailed for a short time because of her involvement with her daughter’s abortion.

Only after intense public pressure was an arrest warrant issued for the accused rapist, but he still remains free.

In response to this miscarriage of justice, Rosales decried, “This goes beyond being a negligent state,” she said. “This is a state that is actively working against women.”


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