Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 14:34 UK

Romanian girl permitted abortion

A pregnant girl waits in a hospital corridor (generic, file image)
Late-term abortions are outlawed in Romania

An 11-year-old Romanian girl who is 21 weeks pregnant after being raped by an uncle will be able to have an abortion, even though it is forbidden by law.

A government committee said the procedure should go ahead due to the exceptional circumstances of her case.

Romania's abortion limit is 14 weeks. It had been suggested the girl might travel to the UK for the abortion.

Some 20 Christian Orthodox groups had threatened to press charges if the girl was allowed to abort the foetus.

In a letter to the government committee, the girl said she wanted to be able "to go to school and to play".

"If I can't do this my life will be a nightmare," she said, according to a text read out by government committee member Vlad Iliescu.

"The committee has decided that a voluntary termination of the pregnancy can be carried out," said Mr Iliescu.

He said the abortion could take place because the girl was a victim of sexual abuse and faced "major risks to her mental health" if the pregnancy continued.

Another committee member, Theodora Bertzi said the decision was made focusing on "the rights of this child who was subjected to rape and incest".

The committee said the case highlighted the need for "clarifications with regard to the exceptional circumstances" that would allow late-term abortions to go ahead.

'Family decision'

The girl was raped by a 19-year-old uncle who has since disappeared.

Her family only discovered she was pregnant when they took her to the doctor because she seemed sick.

While some pro-life Christian Orthodox groups had urged the family to keep the child, and offered to raise it in a church institution, the Romanian Orthodox Church said any decision on abortion should be left to the family.

The girl's parents had said they wanted to travel to a country where such a late-term abortion was legal.

In Romania abortion is only normally allowed beyond 14 weeks if the mother's life is deemed to be at risk. In Britain, they can be carried out up to 24 weeks in some circumstances.

A Romanian living in the UK had offered to cover the costs of a termination there.

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