Medical experts in Peru warned that lowering the age of consent for sex to the age 14 would lead to abuse and sexual exploitation of minors.
The government has the duty to “protect the physical, psychiatric, moral and social integrity of children and adolescents,” Maita Garcia, president of the National Association of Catholic Doctors in Peru, told CNA on Nov. 21.
Children at the age of 14 are developing and “generally are not sufficiently capable of calculating the consequences of their actions,” she underscored.
“For this reason the principal of parental authority exists, by which the parents answer for them until they are legally adults.”
Garcia made her comments in reference to a lawsuit filed on Nov. 18 by the Medical College of Peru and the Peruvian Institute for Responsible Parenthood challenging the constitutionality of a law that prohibits sexual relations between adolescents in Peru.
“To make it legally possible for them to have sexual relations without having matured enough to exercise their sexuality in a responsible way, will not protect adolescents and could lead to abuse and sexual exploitation,” Garcia stated.
“Would the law also allow prostitution for minors if they consented?” she asked.
Garcia noted that “consent” could “easily be obtained by unscrupulous persons who would curry the favor of these girls by meeting many of their material and emotional needs, which would obviously be an abuse of power.”
“This same consent,” she said, “is often used as a defense argument in accusations of rape.”
Garcia stressed that government leaders should “safeguard the comprehensive health of all persons, particularly those who are weakest and still developing, to protect their dignity, self-esteem and chances for a better future.”