11-year-old Romanian rape survivor permitted abortion

Good news: Despite threats from anti-choice groups, the 11-year-old Romanian girl who was raped by her uncle has been allowed to terminate the pregnancy.

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.

In response, 20 “pro-life” Christian Orthodox groups have threatened to press charges.

How nice.

But despite the predictable actions by anti-choicers, it sounds like other religious groups and community members have rallied around her:

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.

It’s a good reminder that there are lots of individuals, organizations and religious groups that are willing to help where they can. It’s easy to get caught up on the actions of fundamentalists, but they are hardly the rule, despite the fact that they’re disproportionately loud and powerful.



Similar Posts (automatically generated):

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Politics, Reproductive Rights and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to 11-year-old Romanian rape survivor permitted abortion

  1. Rachel says:

    Thank god! That poor girl has been through enough! I hope she is able to have a semi-normal life after all of this.

  2. Bushfire says:

    I am so happy to hear the good news! It’s nice to hear that some religious people support her. Too bad all those others think they should press charges because a girl received necessary medical care!

  3. Schmorgluck says:

    It’s pretty encouraging to see the Romanian Orthodox Church take a pragmatic stance instead of a dogmatic one. It’s very important news on a larger scale.

  4. LadyTess says:

    Oh that is such welcome news. I will have to tell my friends who were tempted to take a little trip to Romania to crack a few heads. And i agree with Schmorgluck it is really important news on a larger scale. Other churches could learn from this.

  5. ouyangdan says:

    oh thank FSM for some good news in all of this! and I totally second the notion of thank goodness the church is taking a pragmatic stance on this.

  6. Instead of wasting their time making a young girl’s life a living hell, these so-called pro-lifers should be tracking down the creep who raped her. He could be raping someone right now, but these so-called Christians don’t seem to give a shit about that.

  7. lf says:

    If you’re interested in some details/helping out directly —

    For a bit more info on the case, here are 2 other articles in English from yesterday:
    ”Romanian schoolgirl raped at 10 flier to UK for abortion”
    ”Romanian rape victim, 11, allowed to have abortion in her own country, government rules”

    The good part of the decision [ro. only] reached by the special committee appointed by the Department of Health is its recommendations that:

    – both the girl and the family should receive psychological counseling
    – the “secondary legislation” regarding termination of pregnancy in exceptional cases in Romania should be updated and clarified through a special order from the competent authorities,

    the conclusion being that existing legislation does cover the case: Act 18/1990 and Act 272/2004 (Art. 2, 3) regarding children’s rights protects the superior interest of a child over all actions and decisions that concern him or her, Act 46/2003 (Art. 26) – the patients’ rights law establishes that a woman’s right to life prevails when the pregnancy represents a major risk factor for the mother’s life, and Penal Code Art. 185 (6, a) regarding illegal abortion states that the interruption of pregnancy by a doctor is not punished if it is necessary to save the life, health or bodily integrity of the pregnant woman from grave and imminent danger which cannot be avoided otherwise.

    Also positive is that the Children’s Rights Protection Agency has intervened (during the debates they had already stated that they would sue the doctors who made the original decision to force the little girl to carry the pregnancy to term), and hopefully will act in the girl’s best interest together with the family from this point on.

    We know that besides sparking a lot of debate (which has been very prominent in the mass media and become a huge “political” scandal, used by various groups and people mostly for opportunistic ends), this whole case has had one positive outcome in that for the future there will be a multidsciplinary team involved in such decisions (and not just when the pregnant person is underage), including a doctor, a psychologist and a social worker.

    Unfortunately, throughout the whole debate there have been many opinions heard from medical professionals which either overlooked the interest of the child involved entirely or proved the lack of competence of supposed “experts” with legal and medical concerns around sexual abuse, child abuse, trauma, and therapy: for instance, a psychologist on the “ethics committee” at the clinic where the abortion was denied has commented [ro. only] that he believes the sexual act that led to the pregnancy — the rape of the 11-year old girl by her 19-year old uncle — was “rather child’s play, more of a seduction, which happened repeatedly, but should still be considered a ‘rape'” (!). Or, the head of the Official Romanian Medical Authority (and former head of the Bioethics Committee) declared [ro. only] a few days ago in the press that he would not pursue changing/ammending the Romanian legislation because the existing law is already of an “excessive laxity” and “a being over 20 weeks old can feel pain, move and it’s not its fault that there are monsters like the girl’s uncle in this world.” Not surprisingly given that stance, yesterday the Official Romanian Medical Authority (CMR) also responded to the Health Department committee with a press release of their own [ro. only], in which they warn medical professionals that they have full personal responsibility for their actions and the doctor who chooses to perform the abortion cannot be protected by CMR because “the only institutions that are able to give an interpretation with judicial value of legal matters are the Parliament and courts in individual cases” and “the rest of interpretations are opinions or recommendations only” and “therefore, the decision by the intergovernmental committee is an opinion or recommendation.”

    For the little girl in this particular case, in the meantime, the ordeal is far from over. A Romanian businesswoman living in the UK has taken the initiative and made all arrangements so that the girl can travel, accompanied by her mother, to have the abortion performed there, as soon and safely as possible. However, the family have spent a lot of money already (on trips to clinics and offices, tests, fees, and “bribes” which are standard procedure with Romanian doctors), have had to borrow about 1000 EUR which has long run out, and need all the support they can get from now on. So far we have collected around 150 EUR to pass on to them. Those who would like to donate something can do so through this PayPal account – the money will be sent directly to the family, who doesn’t have a bank account, by money order. Donors will be sent a copy of the receipt.

  8. lf says:

    sorry about that, hopefully the html is fixed this 2nd time around:

    If you’re interested in some details/helping out —

    For a bit more info on the case, here are 2 other articles in English from yesterday:
    ”Romanian schoolgirl raped at 10 flier to UK for abortion”
    ”Romanian rape victim, 11, allowed to have abortion in her own country, government rules”

    The good part of the decision [ro. only] reached by the special committee appointed by the Department of Health is its recommendations that:

    – both the girl and the family should receive psychological counseling
    – the “secondary legislation” regarding termination of pregnancy in exceptional cases in Romania should be updated and clarified through a special order from the competent authorities,

    the conclusion being that existing legislation does cover the case: Act 18/1990 and Act 272/2004 (Art. 2, 3) regarding children’s rights protects the superior interest of a child over all actions and decisions that concern him or her, Act 46/2003 (Art. 26) – the patients’ rights law establishes that a woman’s right to life prevails when the pregnancy represents a major risk factor for the mother’s life, and Penal Code Art. 185 (6, a) regarding illegal abortion states that the interruption of pregnancy by a doctor is not punished if it is necessary to save the life, health or bodily integrity of the pregnant woman from grave and imminent danger which cannot be avoided otherwise.

    Also positive is that the Children’s Rights Protection Agency has intervened (during the debates they had already stated that they would sue the doctors who made the original decision to force the little girl to carry the pregnancy to term), and hopefully will act in the girl’s best interest together with the family from this point on.

    We know that besides sparking a lot of debate (which has been very prominent in the mass media and become a huge “political” scandal, used by various groups and people mostly for opportunistic ends), this whole case has had one positive outcome in that for the future there will be a multidsciplinary team involved in such decisions (and not just when the pregnant person is underage), including a doctor, a psychologist and a social worker.

    Unfortunately, throughout the whole debate there have been many opinions heard from medical professionals which either overlooked the interest of the child involved entirely or proved the lack of competence of supposed “experts” with legal and medical concerns around sexual abuse, child abuse, trauma, and therapy: for instance, a psychologist on the “ethics committee” at the clinic where the abortion was denied has commented [ro. only] that he believes the sexual act that led to the pregnancy — the rape of the 11-year old girl by her 19-year old uncle — was “rather child’s play, more of a seduction, which happened repeatedly, but should still be considered a ‘rape'” (!). Or, the head of the Official Romanian Medical Authority (and former head of the Bioethics Committee) declared [ro. only] a few days ago in the press that he would not pursue changing/amending the Romanian legislation because the existing law is already of an “excessive laxity” and “a being over 20 weeks old can feel pain, move and it’s not its fault that there are monsters like the girl’s uncle in this world.” Not surprisingly given that stance, yesterday the Official Romanian Medical Authority (CMR) also responded to the Health Department committee with a press release of their own [ro. only], in which they warn medical professionals that they have full personal responsibility for their actions and the doctor who chooses to perform the abortion cannot be protected by CMR because “the only institutions that are able to give an interpretation with judicial value of legal matters are the Parliament and courts in individual cases” and “the rest of interpretations are opinions or recommendations only” and “therefore, the decision by the intergovernmental committee is an opinion or recommendation.”

    For the little girl in this particular case, in the meantime, the ordeal is far from over. A Romanian businesswoman living in the UK has taken the initiative and made all arrangements so that the girl can travel, accompanied by her mother, to have the abortion performed there, as soon and safely as possible. However, the family have spent a lot of money already (on trips to clinics and offices, tests, fees, and “bribes” which are standard procedure with Romanian doctors), have had to borrow about 1000 EUR which has long run out, and need all the support they can get from now on. So far we have raised around 150 EUR to pass on to them. Those who would like to donate something can do so through this PayPal account – the money will be sent directly to the family, who doesn’t have a bank account, by money order. Donors will be sent a copy of the receipt.

Comments are closed.