A team of medical experts has decided that whatever the abortion law says about gestational deadlines, a 12-year-old raped by her 43-year-old stepfather should not have to go through the trauma of childbirth.
An abortion will now be performed on the girl – only last week discovered to be five months pregnant – “as quickly as possible”.
The decision came yesterday at a special meeting of paediatricians, obstetricians, child psychiatrists and hospital bosses at Lisbon’s Santa Maria Hospital.
The child has been kept interned at the hospital for the last week and is now protected from all contact with her mother – while her stepfather has been remanded in custody charged with the sexual abuse of a minor. He faces anything from a three to 20-year jail sentence, depending on which charges are proved.
The case was flagged by authorities only last week when a member of staff at the girl’s school noticed her condition.
At the time, the child’s mother said she was unaware of any abuse, but according to newspaper reports today (Thursday), the mother has now been made a defendant in the case, suspected of having known about the abuse all along.
Announcing its decision to go ahead with the termination, the hospital said it was taken “considering the superior interests of the child” but “reserved the right not to give any further statements”.
The child will be assured “psychological support” throughout, and doctors are understood to be confident that the termination will cause “no physical consequences”.