2 April 2018

180402 crEach time I come to Guatemala, the same thing seems to happen.  The interesting quickly becomes common.  As time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult to know what to share.  But there must be something interesting enough to cause you to keep reading.


The first week, there was this 14-year-old girl who came in with her mother to our clinic in a remote Mayan village up the mountain.  They were both late on their menstrual periods.  While the mother’s pregnancy test was negative, the 14-year-old was pregnant.  The ultrasound showed an early normal pregnancy with a beating heart.  After a private discussion using multiple Mayan translators, she revealed that she had been sexually active with an older boy who had left for the United States.  It was never exactly clear to us whether or not this was consensual.  She begged us not to tell her mother, because she was afraid of being beaten by her.  However, when she began to talk about taking poison hoping to cause an abortion or even kill herself, we felt it necessary to do so.  When the Mayan translator, who is also a Christian pastor, explained to her the situation, her first response was for her daughter to have the baby removed.  The pastor explained to her how this would be in fact killing her baby and would not simply make the issue go away.  He shared similar situations where the church came alongside the family to help.  Adoption was an option.  But she did not seem much persuaded at the time.  We have not seen either of them since.  The age in this country for reporting an early pregnancy is thirteen.  In previous cases, when the missionaries have reported such cases to the police, there has been no response.  Especially in this remote Mayan village, it is extremely unlikely that anyone would even try to follow up.  Last year when I was here, there was a similar situation.  This is far too common and many times involves incest which makes it even more complicated.


Abortion is common enough here.  Sometimes, it involves taking bitter herbs like oregano which doesn’t actually work.  Other times, different poisons are tried.  Minimally trained midwives may try other procedural forms of abortion.  If one has enough money, there are likely gynecologists that perform a “safe abortion.”


But the reality is that there are no abortions that are “safe” for the baby or the mother.  I have seen very difficult social situations on in both rural Guatemala and inner-city Detroit.  I have never seen where abortion fixed the problem.   


May God continue to shine His light into very dark situations.  May many receive His Truth and may He empower them to walk in His ways.  May a spirit of life overpower the spirit of death.