12-year-old rape survivor from Mumbai seeks SC permission to abort 27-week-old foetus
The move comes a month after the courts did not permit a 10-year-old girl from Chandigarh, who was sexually assaulted by a relative, permission to abort her foetusmumbai Updated: Aug 10, 2017 12:15 IST
The mother of a 12-year-old rape survivor from Mumbai plans to file a petition in the Supreme Court today, seeking permission to abort the child’s 27-week-old foetus.
The move comes a month after the courts did not permit a 10-year-old girl from Chandigarh, who was sexually assaulted by a relative, permission to abort her foetus. They held that late-stage abortion could threaten her life, a view shared by a committee of medical experts who examined her.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, does not allow abortions beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy, though courts have made exceptions if the foetus has a serious medical abnormality or if the mother’s life is at risk.
Doctors, however, say pregnancy and delivery at age 15 or younger can be dangerous.
The Mumbai girl’s pregnancy came to light after she gained weight. Her mother took her to a doctor, who referred them to gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Datar, who offers legal aid to women who want an abortion after the deadline.
Datar said he has evaluated the case. “It is extremely sad that she cannot undergo an abortion right away. Both the mother and daughter are disturbed,” he said.
He added that the mother asked the local police station to file an FIR. “The girl’s father is currently out of town,” he said.
What does the law state?
In India, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, allows abortion only up to 20 weeks of gestation. A woman wanting to abort the foetus after the 20th week of pregnancy is granted permission to abort only if the pregnancy involves a risk to her life, affecting her physical or mental health. The new MTP Amendment draft bill 2014, which is yet to be passed is slated to extend the abortion cut-off to 24 weeks.