The Gujarat high court has allowed termination of 22-week pregnancy of a 14-year-old rape survivor, holding abortion was in the “best interest” of the teenager.
“After careful inquiry of the medical opinion on feasibility of the pregnancy as well as social circumstances faced by the victim, this Court is of the opinion that termination of pregnancy requires to be permitted, which is in the best interest of the victim,” Justice Sonia Gokani said in an order given last week.
“The victim’s fragile health and poor haemoglobin level require that a team of doctors examines her once again and also ensure her safety,” she maintained.
The girl, from Rajkot, had moved a special criminal application seeking Court permission, at the earliest, to terminate her pregnancy of 22 weeks citing her age and “in the larger interest of justice”. Continuance of pregnancy would cause grave injury to her health and well being, it said.
The HC relied on an order of the Supreme Court in the case of Chandrakant Jayantilal Suthar vs State of Gujarat where the apex court had held the “best interest” of the victim as the benchmark for passing orders in such cases.
Gokani said, “In the present set of circumstances, the Court’s decision has to be guided by the best interest of the victim alone and not of the stakeholders nor of the guardian.”
“It can be noticed that the patient has severe anaemia with 6.5 per cent haemoglobin and pregnancy of 22 weeks and 3 days as on June 7. The medical opinion suggests termination can be carried out with the order of the Court and after correction of anaemia with due risk of the procedure.”
As per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, termination of pregnancy can be done up to 20-week of pregnancy.
A rape case was filed on May 22, 2016 in Rajkot mahila police station after the victim’s parents came to know their daughter was pregnant.
The accused, a 21-year-old youth who was known to the girl, was later arrested and is currently behind bars.
The victim’s parents first moved a Court in Rajkot for termination of pregnancy. However, the Rajkot Court denied nod for the medical procedure following which they approached the HC.