'Raped' Romanian girl given go-ahead for abortion

Pa
Friday 27 June 2008 13:49
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An 11-year-old girl who was reportedly raped by her uncle can have an abortion in Romania on exceptional grounds, the country's government ruled today.

The girl, who claims she was raped by her 19-year-old relative, is 21 weeks pregnant - beyond the 14 weeks legal limit for abortion in her own country.

At a meeting, Romanian government committee member Vlad Iliescu read out an emotive letter from the girl.

It said: "I want to go to school and to play. If I can't do this, my life will be a nightmare."

Mr Iliescu said a 21-week-old foetus would have a 1 per cent chance of survival.

He added that "the girl's mental health would be severely affected if she had a baby".

Members had discussed the options of allowing the girl to travel to Britain for a termination or ruling she must continue with her pregnancy.

The UK has one of the highest legal limits for abortion in Europe at 24 weeks. A Romanian living in Britain offered to meet the abortion costs.

The girl's parents discovered she was pregnant earlier this month after they took her to a doctor because she appeared unwell.

She told doctors she had been raped by her uncle, who has since disappeared.

Debate about the girl's situation sparked a protest among church groups in Romania and today's decision is unlikely to end the row.

Twenty pro-life Christian Orthodox groups threatened to press charges if the girl was allowed to have a termination in Romania on exceptional grounds.

In contrast, the Romanian Orthodox Church argued the decision should be left to the girl's family.

Child rights groups appealed for tolerance because the girl was a rape and incest victim.

Last month, MPs rejected calls to lower the upper time limit for abortions in the UK.

It remains at 24 weeks after they turned down several proposals, ranging from 12 to 22 weeks.

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