A 14-year-old rape victim who is in advanced stages of pregnancy and has sought an abortion was refused medical tests, a must undertaking the procedure, at a government facility as the doctors were “busy”.
According to the girl’s father, they were kept waiting for more than three hours at Bareilly’s Maharana Pratap common district hospital on Tuesday, only to be told to come back on Thursday.
“We were asked to wait outside the CMO’s office and in the evening, they asked us to come again on Thursday,” the father said.
The girl is 32 weeks pregnant and every day counts. India has a 20-week legal restriction on abortions, a ceiling that has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
The pregnancy termination law allows a woman to abort but only after doctors confirm “it is necessary to save the mother’s life”. Various courts, including the country’s top court, have relaxed the ceiling after getting an all-clear from a team or board of doctors.
The girl’s case could not be taken up as he was preoccupied with “tehsil diwas” proceedings, chief medical officer Vijay Yadav said. He did not even ask his team to start the tests, the father said.
Earlier, the girl was denied permission for abortion by a lower court and a fast-track court in Bareilly after which the family approached the Allahabad high court.
The high court on August 29 disposed of the petition, asking the girl’s father to move an application before the CMO who was told to take appropriate decision.
The CMO turned down their pled and the family met the district magistrate on Monday. The DM asked the medical officer to examine the girl, family’s counsel VP Dhyani said.
The tests, including an ultrasound examination, will help doctors assess her medical situation and then arrive at a decision.
But, medical practitioners say it is impossible to terminate a 32-week-old foetus. “Delivery is the only option at such an advanced stage because termination will pose a grave danger to the life of the mother,” said chief medical superintendent (female) of Bareilly district hospital Alka Sharma.
The girl was repeatedly raped by a man who promised to marry her but walked out when she got pregnant, the family said.