AN 11-year-old Romanian girl is at the centre of a row over whether she should be allowed to travel to Britain for an abortion.
The girl, who claims she was raped by her 19-year-old uncle, is 20 weeks pregnant — after the legal limit for abortion in her own country, which stands at 14 weeks.
Britain has one of the highest legal limits for abortion in Europe at 24 weeks.
A Romanian government committee will decide today whether the girl can travel to Britain for a termination or whether she must continue with the pregnancy. A Romanian living in Britain has offered to meet the 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.
An abortion is legal up to 24 weeks in Britain if two doctors decide that the risk to a woman’s physical or mental health will be greater if she continues with the pregnancy than if she ends it.
Debate about the girl’s situation has sparked a protest among church groups in Romania.
Twenty pro-life Christian Orthodox groups urged the government committee not to allow her to travel to Britain and threatened to press charges if the girl was allowed to have a termination in Romania on exceptional grounds.
In contrast, the official stand of the Romanian Orthodox Church was that the decision should be left to the girl’s family.
Abortion is allowed in Ireland only if the woman’s life is at risk.
Josephine Quintavalle, from the Pro-Life Alliance, said that an abortion could add to the girl’s trauma.
“It’s a very traumatic situation and we have the greatest compassion for this poor girl, but we do not think an abortion at 20 weeks will do anything to help her,” she said. “What people are trying to do is help a girl who has been raped,” she added.
“Certainly she has to be helped and cared for, but an abortion is not going to help her deal with the trauma of the rape. The great concern is that it would add to her trauma.
“We believe a better solution would be for her to be allowed to continue with the pregnancy and perhaps talk about adoption.”
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