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Wednesday, October 13, 1999 Published at 07:12 GMT 08:12 UK

UK: Scotland

Prosecution call in abortion row

The payment scheme was launched in Scotland

The father of the 12-year-old girl at the centre of a row over the Catholic church's policy of paying women who decide not to have abortions has said the boy believed to be the father of the baby should be prosecuted.

But police say they have received no complaint about the 15-year-old who is thought to be the father.

No action could be considered against the boy unless there was a complaint from the girl, and none had yet been received, said a Devon and Cornwall police spokesman.

But the girl's father told the Daily Mail: "He should be made an example of. My daughter is 12 years old, for God's sake."

'Don't want to know'

The 35-year-old Catholic, who says his daughter has severe learning difficulties and a reading age of six, said: "I went down to see the boy and his parents, but they don't want to know.

"His mother's exact words were, 'Oh Christ, I've got 18 grandchildren already'. It is utterly irresponsible."

[ image: Cardinal Thomas Winning devised the plan]
Cardinal Thomas Winning devised the plan
He said he and his wife, who are both unemployed and live in the Torbay area of Devon, plan to raise the baby as their own.

The couple already have other children.

They then contacted the Catholic Church in Scotland which runs the scheme to support pregnant women as an alternative to abortion.

Her father said: "This is a very difficult time for us all and we are desperately trying to do what is best for our daughter.

Couple 'distressed'

"Both my wife and I are very distressed that people think she is being bribed to keep her child, which couldn't be further from the truth.

"We vowed to support her whatever decision she came to."

The child is due to be born early next year, just after their daughter's 13th birthday.

The Roman Catholic church has been criticised for offering financial help to the girl if she has the child.

Critics say she may not be mature enough to have the baby and have accused the scheme's leaders of bribery.

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