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Irish rape victim prepares for abortion

Tuesday 02 December 1997 00:02 GMT

The 13-year-old Irish gypsy girl who is pregnant after being raped was last night preparing for the termination she wanted after efforts to block it by her parents and pro-life groups failed.

The parents' lawyer indicated earlier that they wanted an eleventh-hour appeal at the Supreme Court in Dublin to prevent the abortion.

But in mid-morning their lawyer said this would not proceed. With conflicting signals, Chief Justice Liam Hamilton then convened a special hearing of the five-judge court for confirmation of this from all parties' representatives.

The way now seems clear for the girl to have the abortion in England.

Her parents first favoured a termination, but changed their minds after meeting pro-life campaigners. They financed last week's unsuccessful High Court bid to overturn the initial Children's Court approval for the abortion.

The girl's parents have 12 children and live in extreme poverty in dilapidated caravans on a roadside campsite near Dublin. In the High Court on Friday Mr Justice Geoghegan said their behaviour after the alleged rape had not corresponded with what was expected of parents "in such appalling circumstances".

On Sunday the girl blocked a meeting with her parents when they refused to let a social worker attend.

The parents now plan to seek the lifting of the order that has placed their daughter in care since September. Following legal advice the Archbishop of Dublin at the weekend turned down the father's request for the Church to fund a Supreme Court appeal.

The case brought pressure on Bertie Ahern's government to end confusion surrounding Irish abortion law left by the 1983 "pro-life" constitutional amendment giving mother and unborn child an "equal right to life".

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