Teen and Mother Arrested Over Pressuring Girl Into Abortion

A high school student and his mother were arrested in Battambang province on Friday and accused of pressuring his 17-year-old girlfriend to get an abortion, but have since been released because of a lack of evidence, officials said on Sunday.

Inn Phana, also 17, and his mother, Heam Saoeun, 40, were arrested by military police at their home in Bavel district after Phana’s girlfriend filed a complaint against them, according to deputy provincial military police commander So Dy.

On July 17, “the victim announced her pregnancy to her boyfriend and requested that he prepare to have a wedding before the baby was born,” Mr. Dy said, citing an interview with the girl on Wednesday.

In response, he added, “the boyfriend threatened to break up with her if she did not get an abortion and made her promise not to tell this secret to her parents.”

When Phana’s mother, Ms. Saoeun, learned about the unplanned pregnancy, she promised the girl that if she went through with the abortion, she would arrange a wedding once her son graduated from high school, Mr. Dy said. The girl agreed and Phana and his mother took her to a private clinic to have the procedure, he said.

After getting the abortion, however, Phana and his mother began treating the girl poorly, prompting her to file a complaint with local military police, he added.

“The victim decided to file the complaint against the suspects because the suspects cheated her into getting an abortion,” he said. “It is illegal to force someone to get an abortion if they don’t want it.”

Touch Pheakdey, a spokesman for the Battambang Provincial Court, said the mother and son were questioned at the court on Friday, and were then released later in the day due a lack of incriminating evidence. He said the court would continue to investigate the case, however, and contact the clinic where the girl allegedly had the abortion.

According to Article 14 of Cambodia’s 1997 Law on Abortion, “any person who compels a woman to have an abortion or causes her an abortion, shall be punished from 1 to 5 years in prison.”

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