Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Praises 11-Year-Old Pregnant Girl For "Maturity"

Imagine you are a pregnant 11-year-old girl. You've already been through hell and back being raped, and now, you're in the center of a firestorm about abortion rights in your country. All eyes are on you: Everyone from the president on down to your neighbors, your family, and friends. What would you say if you were asked about your situation, what you think about your pregnancy? You'd want acceptance and approval, of course... because you're a child. And how can you get it? By saying what people want to hear.

I'm not surprised that the 11-year-old pregnant Chilean girl who was raped by her mother's partner would appear on national television parroting the rhetoric she's heard around her in a strongly Catholic, pro-life country. According to USA Today, the child told Chile's Canal 13 in an interview that she wants to have the baby and will love it even though "that man hurt me." (Side note: Who the hell let a little girl in this situation go on national television, even with her face obscured?! What this girl needs is support, not publicity.)

Chile's president, Sebastian Piñera, praised the girl for her comments, for the "depth and maturity" that they apparently belied. Hmmm. Obviously, we can't know what this girl's true feelings are on her pregnancy, but saying she wants to keep the child of a man who raped her repeatedly over two years doesn't sound like depth and maturity to me. It sounds like something a little girl who doesn't want to be further punished, further humiliated, further picked apart and dissected in the media, might say. It's exactly what a little girl who's craving the approval of the adults around her might say.

This girl may, in fact, be excited and happy at the prospect of becoming a mother, no matter how terrible the circumstances of her fetus' conception. But she may also be terrified, confused, and unable to fully understand or process what has happened to her, not to mention unable to understand or process the controversy her situation has created.

No one, including Piñera, should be applauding this girl for her "maturity." He, and his government, should be doing everything he can to provide support for her. She needs access to mental health services. She needs good medical care. She needs a strong support system, both emotionally, mentally and economically, that will help her during her unwanted pregnancy and beyond, once her child is born. She also needs adults in her life who don't find it appropriate for her, a child who's experienced a highly traumatic event, to appear on television and discuss her trauma. She needs people to remember that above all, she is a child.