By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

BUCHAREST, June 27, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After much "domestic and international pressure", according to the British newspaper The Telegraph, a Romanian government panel has approved the abortion of an unborn child at more than 20 weeks gestation, despite the prohibition against abortions after 14 weeks.

The nation’s Council of Physicians denounced the verdict, stating that it was nothing more than a legal opinion, and that any doctor who carried out the abortion would face legal consequences.

Their warning echoed that of over 20 Romanian Orthodox groups who have demanded that the law be obeyed.  The groups have promised to raise the child if the family lacks the resources to do so.  Romanian Orthodox Church officials in the country have refused to denounce the abortion, however, claiming that their condemnation of abortion doesn’t necessarily extend to rape and incest cases.

The case, which involves an 11-year-old girl who says she was raped by her uncle, has been the subject of controversy in Romania since a hospital ethics panel ruled earlier this month that an abortion could not be carried out.

Under Romanian law, abortions after 14 weeks can only be performed to protect the health of the mother. The pregnancy, however, was proceeding without complications, the panel stated.

After the case drew international media attention, the government agreed to examine the situation, and issued its ruling today, apparently basing its decision on an expansive concept of "health" that includes the "psychological" health of the mother.

"‘I want to go to school and to play. If I can’t do this my life will be a nightmare,’" the girl wrote in a letter to the committee.  Committee member Vlad Illiescu claimed, based on these words, that "the girl’s mental health would be severely affected if she had a baby".

Despite the pro-abortion ruling, the child’s mother has said that she will obtain the abortion in Britain, where a Romanian businesswoman has agreed to pay for it.  Abortions can be obtained in Britain up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Possibly in response to the continuing controversy, the child’s father has stated that "there’s nothing that can be done here."

"On Tuesday we’re going and that is our final decision," he added.

Previous LifeSiteNews Coverage:

Romanian Orthodox Church authorities refuse to condemn abortion in case of pregnant minor
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08062610.html

Romanian Government Officials Seek Abortion for 11 Year Old Girl
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08062408.html