Lima: Days after Peruvian Congressman Juan Carlos Eguren said "it's almost impossible for pregnancy to result from a random rape", the country's Minister for Women and Vulnerable Populations Marcela Huaita has regretted the remarks.
Huaita said such comments reflect "ignorance about what can be a very painful predicament for women".
In a statement to Andina news agency on Saturday, Huaita said it was "extremely important" that the subject of decriminalising abortion in cases of sexual violation, which is what Eguren was talking about, should be discussed in a "serious and analytic" way, and that the voice of women must be heard.
"I believe all women feel affected when such a painful subject is talked about with so little feeling and with a prevailing ignorance of reality," the minister said in a statement published in the daily El Comercio.
Last Wednesday, Eguren said on radio station RPP Noticias that "rape is terrible, often a random event, but that doesn't cause pregnancy... It's almost impossible for pregnancy to result from a random rape, because it happens when the person is in a state of shock."
But the legislator of the Christian Popular Party (PPC) said that pregnancy could indeed occur from "rapes in family situations, which are frequent, permanent, systematic violations that can end in pregnancy".
Eguren's statement, voiced at a time when a congressional commission is debating a bill to decriminalise abortion for rape-induced pregnancies, sparked indignation on social networks and even had doctors speaking out to deride his opinion.
The Dejala Decidir (Let Her Decide) group, which promotes the decriminalisation of this kind of abortion, rejected Eguren's ideas as "unscientific".
One of the group's activists, Romy Garcia, said that the Perinatal Maternal Institute of Lima reported that 14 percent of teenage pregnancies attended there were the result of rape.