'God-fearing' Romanian doctors halt abortions for Easter

TIMISOARA, Romania (AFP) - A group of around 30 gynaecologists in a Romanian town have decided to stop all abortions during the week leading up to Orthodox Easter on April 12, so as to not "upset God".

"We do not perform abortions during the major holidays, especially during Holy Week and Christmas because we think it is not right to upset God," said Marius Craina, gynaecologist and director of the local hospital of Timisoara, a town in western Romania.

He deplored the number of abortions taking place - around 250 a day - in the majority Orthodox Christian country.

"Here, abortion is seen as a means of contraception," he said. "We have one of the highest abortion rates in Europe."

Abortion was banned in Romania during the regime of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was killed in 1989 after a popular rebellion pushed him from power.

Abortion was then legalised in 1990. That year, as many as 992,000 abortions were registered, three times the number of births.

Since then, the number of abortions have gradually decreased in the European Union's second poorest country, with 88,000 recorded in 2012 compared to 200,000 newborns.