A medical ethics panel in Romania refused Friday to grant an abortion to an 11-year-old who had allegedly been raped by her uncle, a hospital official said.
"According to the penal code, after the 14th week of pregnancy, termination is only permissible if the mother's life is endangered or if the foetus suffers from malformation," said Vica Todosiciuc, head of the Cuza Voda maternity section in the northeastern city of Iasi.
"Having examined the girl, the panel observes that the pregnancy is proceeding naturally and therefore that termination should not be imposed."
The girl's parents discovered the pregnancy during a medical check-up two weeks ago after she complained of stomach pains. Police are hunting the uncle, who is said to have fled his home.
"The fact that the pregnancy stemmed from rape was not taken into account by the panel, for two reasons: one, because rape has not been proven; and two, because the penal code does not allow for any exceptions," Todosiciuc said.
"This was a very difficult decision for the doctors to make. They searched for a medical reason which would allow them to authorise a termination, but none was found."
An initial regional medical commission had recommended allowing termination, primarily because the girl is so young. But the law in Romania requires an ethnics panel to have the final say in cases which have gone past 14 weeks.
According to Romania's health ministry, the number of under-15s giving birth is on the increase, reaching around 500 in 2006.