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10-year-old mother causes stir in Spain

Associated Press / November 4, 2010

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MADRID — A Romanian Gypsy woman whose 10-year-old daughter just gave birth in Spain said she is delighted and doesn’t understand why the birth has shocked anyone — let alone become an international sensation.

Spanish authorities have released few details about the case to protect the girl’s privacy.

But in comments published yesterday, her mother told reporters that the baby’s father is a 13-year-old boy who is still in Romania and is no longer going out with her daughter.

The 10-year-old girl and her baby daughter plan to stay in Spain because the young couple separated, said the girl’s mother. She identified herself only as Olimpia and appeared to be in her 30s but did not give her age.

She said she and her daughter are Romanian Gypsies, or Roma, and their custom is to allow girls to marry young even though it is against the law in Romania.

Romanian law allows girls to get married at age 16 with parental consent, or at 18 without it.

The story has gone viral on the Internet and is causing an uproar in Spain.

“Mother at 10 years old’’ blared a headline in Barcelona’s La Vanguardia newspaper, which dedicated two pages to the story.

But news about the 10-year-old mother barely registered in Romania, where stories buried inside newspapers focused on the controversy the birth had caused among Spaniards.

The girl moved to Spain about three weeks ago, her mother said, and her baby was born in a hospital last week in the city of Jerez de la Frontera. There were no complications during the birth, and the 10-year-old and her baby are doing fine, her mother said.

“She’s doing well and is very happy with her daughter,’’ the woman said.

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