10-year-old rape victim denied abortion by India's Supreme Court

10-year-old rape victim denied abortion by India's Supreme Court

10-year-old rape victim denied abortion by India's Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday turned down an abortion plea filed by a 10-year-old rape survivor, who is 32 weeks pregnant.

A two-judge bench, led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, took the decision based on the assessment of doctors who said a medical termination was not safe for the girl or the foetus.

The PIL was filed after a Chandigarh district court on July 18 refused to let the girl undergo the abortion after it was confirmed that she was 26 weeks pregnant.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, bars abortions above 20 weeks of pregnancy with the exception in section 5 which allows such termination "is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman".

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Earlier on July 24, the court issued notice to the Centre on a plea seeking permission to abort the 32-week-old foetus of the rape survivor.

The horrendous allegations were uncovered when the girl was taken to hospital following complaints of a stomach cramp. Allowing her to undergo abortion, the court had observed that the life of the girl, a class X student in Ahmedabad, would be ruined and she would have to live her rest of the life with the social stigma associated with the child.

Rapes of women, including minors, are on the rise in India, despite the government toughening laws against sexual assaults post 2012 fatal and brutal gangrape of a medical student in Delhi.

The medical board was of the opinion that she has "spontaneously expressed her desire not to continue with the pregnancy" since there was substantial risk of mortality and morbidity in the foetus, if born alive.

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After various tests were conducted, a report was prepared and it was handed over to the member-secretary of the Chandigarh Legal Services Authority in a sealed cover, as directed by the apex court. Her lawyers said her family accepted the verdict. They discovered that the girl had been repeatedly raped by her uncle over seven months.

"What does she know - she is only 10 years old", the girl's mother told the newspaper.

With an abortion ruled out, the remaining options for the girl include inducing labor prematurely or letting the fetus go to term and be delivered, said Dr. Rishma Dhillon Pai, the president of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India, which has called for changes in the country's abortion laws.

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