If a young girl is raped, becomes pregnant, and does not have the means to raise a child, may she have an abortion?

Fatwa, posted 4.22.2010, from Egypt, in:
Religious Authority: 
Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Fatwa Question or Essay Title: 
If a young girl is raped, becomes pregnant, and does not have the means to raise a child, may she have an abortion?
Websites and Institutions: 
Islam Online

(This fatwa was issued concerning the rape cases of Bosnian Muslim Women and was given on February 2, 2002).

In the first place, any woman who is raped is not guilty of any sin, for the situation is beyond her control.

Young Muslim men should hasten to marry women such as these who have been tormented, so as to reduce their suffering and console them, to compensate them for the loss of the most precious thing that they possess, which is their virginity.

Pertaining to abortion, the basic principle concerning it is that it is unlawful. But, undoubtedly, raping a Muslim woman by an evil enemy is a strong reason for the victim to have an abortion. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with a Muslim woman who has suffered this disaster to keep the fetus without getting rid of it. With regard to abortion, the basic principle concerning abortion is that it is unlawful (haram), as I have clarified in previous fatwas; it is not allowed from the moment of conception when it becomes a new being and is placed in a place of safety, i.e., the womb, even if this being is the result of an unlawful relationship such as adultery.

. . . There are some exceptional cases in which [abortion may be permissible], and the stronger the excuse, the clearer the reason for the dispensation is, and if that is within the first forty days, it means that the dispensation is more appropriate.

Undoubtedly raping a Muslim woman by an evil enemy is a strong reason for the victim and for her family to have an abortion, for she will hate this fetus, the result of this iniquitous attack, and she will want to get rid of it. So this dispensation is to be given because of necessity, especially in the first days of the pregnancy. But this case of necessity should be determined by religious scholars, doctors and people of wide experience and wisdom. Otherwise, the original rule (of prohibition) should be applied.