A 14-year-old rape victim denied permission by a medical panel to terminate her 32-week pregnancy insisted on Tuesday she was not ready to give birth to the child, highlighting her dilemma over an unwanted motherhood complicated further by legal technicalities.
“I don’t want to give birth to this child. If born, they (the rape accused and his family) should provide for him, or keep the child at their place,” the girl, a resident of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, told HT.
The girl and her parents have for the past few months been knocking on the doors of the judiciary and government offices to seek permission for an abortion. But their pleas were turned down since existing laws did not permit medical termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks.
The exasperated family appealed to the high court, which asked them to move an application before the chief medical officer. Weeks passed and a team of doctors finally turned down their request.
The ruling has left her parents fuming.
“I will not allow that child inside my house. People who delayed her termination should keep it,” the girl’s mother said.
Her father said he did not earn enough to feed an extra mouth. “I don’t have enough money to feed even my family. How will I manage to provide for the child.”
The father has been busy accompanying the girl to the courts for the past few months. The burden of running the family now squarely rests with two elder siblings of the rape victim.
“My brother breaks stones and I drive tractor for a road construction company in Nainital,” said one of her brothers. “Padhne ke umar main to ghar pal raha hun (I’m feeding my family instead of studying),” the other brother who is just 19 years old said.
The alleged rape is the second tragedy to hit the impoverished family. Three years ago, a younger sibling became blind after an accident.
“It was a conspiracy too, someone hit him with a stick. I spent Rs 2 lakh on his treatment but to no avail. I accepted it as my fate and didn’t accuse anyone,” the father said.
“But, this time it is about the life and honour of my girl, so I decided to fight. But the system has failed me,” he added.
“Hum to sare aam beizzat ho rahe hain, aise jine se to maut acchi hai. (We are being openly shamed in the public, death is better than living like this),” he said.
Residing some 30 metres away from their house, family members of the accused -- currently in jail -- said they were ready to accept the girl with her child if paternity of the newborn is confirmed.
“We will forget everything and will accept her as our bride. My family will take care of her and the child, if it is confirmed in DNA test that the child is of my son,” said the father of the accused. He, however, insisted his son had been framed and that “he had never touched the girl”.