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Madhya Pradesh high court allows rape survivor to terminate pregnancy

The woman, hailing from Khandwa, stated in her petition that she had sexual intercourse with a youth on March 30 after he allegedly promised to wed her. He later abandoned her.

bhopal Updated: Jun 15, 2018 15:25 IST
Monika Pandey
Monika Pandey
Hindustan Times, Jabalpur/Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh high court,Rape,Termination of pregnancy
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, allows abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. (Reuters File Photo)

A single bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court on Friday allowed the termination of a rape survivor’s pregnancy and directed a medical board to oversee the procedure, to be carried out on June 18.

The court directive came as a major relief for the 20-year-old petitioner, who had been trying to get the foetus aborted for nearly two months now.

The woman, hailing from Khandwa, stated in her petition that she had sexual intercourse with a youth on March 30 after he allegedly promised to wed her. However, he abandoned her in the weeks that followed and married somebody else. She lodged a rape complaint with the police on April 27, and a sonography report released four days later revealed that she was almost seven weeks’ pregnant.

The woman later approached the local police station and the district hospital for permission to conduct an abortion, but her pleas were rejected. Following this, she filed an application for abortion under Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act-1971 with the district court on May 26 – stating that having to raise a child while she was still unmarried would ruin her family’s reputation. Her petition also said that she was suffering from mental and physical trauma.

The district court rejected her plea on the grounds that she had not presented a medical report showing that she was undergoing mental and physical trauma due to the pregnancy.

The rape survivor then appealed before the high court, and single-bench judge Justice Vandana Kasrekar asked the Khandwa chief medical and health officer to form a medical board to explore the possibility of ending the pregnancy without endangering the patient’s life. According to her counsel, advocate Anand Dutt Mishra, the board submitted on Thursday that the victim was 13 weeks into her pregnancy – which was still seven weeks short of the ceiling set by the abortion law.

Justice Kasrekar then directed that the procedure be conducted after three days.

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 15:02 IST