Friday, July 4, 2008

Romanian girl in UK for abortion

BBC News

An 11-year-old Romanian girl is to have an abortion in the UK despite being cleared to have one in Romania.

The girl is 22 weeks pregnant after being raped by an uncle, who has since gone missing.

Abortion is illegal in Romania after 14 weeks, but a government panel last week decided she could have a termination because of exceptional circumstances.

The British charity Marie Stopes said it had arranged for the girl to have an abortion at an unnamed London hospital.

The organisation said it was approached by representatives of the girl after her arrival in Britain several days ago.

"With the girl's well-being a paramount concern, and immediate access to the service a priority, Marie Stopes International was able to make alternative arrangements for her," it said.

"She will now be treated in a public hospital under a private arrangement funded by Marie Stopes International."

'Decision for family'

Some 20 Christian Orthodox groups in Romania had threatened to press charges if the girl was allowed to abort the baby there.

But a government committee decided the operation could take place because the girl was a victim of sexual abuse and faced "major risks to her mental health" if the pregnancy continued.

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.

Marie Stopes said it was encouraged that the Romanian government was "preparing new legislation to extend the Romanian limit on abortion upwards from its existing 14-week maximum in certain circumstances".

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