Delhi high court lets teen rape survivor terminate pregnancy despite docs’ warning
The Delhi High Court has allowed a 16-year-old rape survivor, who was 22 weeks pregnant, to terminate her pregnancy even after the medical board constituted at GTB hospital said abortion at this stage would carry a higher risk of ‘mortality’ and ‘morbidity’.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru gave the permission to abort the foetus, noting that both the victim and her father had been explained the risks and they were “adamant” that the pregnancy should be aborted.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the teenager, who was allegedly raped for one year by a married man who claimed he was divorced and told her that he was like her husband.
On November 28, the court had directed the medical superintendent of Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) hospital to constitute a medical board to give its opinion on whether the pregnancy could be terminated.
In a special hearing on Saturday, the medical board comprising a gynecologist and a psychiatrist informed the court that the relative risk was much higher than an abortion at eight weeks.
“....This risk has been explained to the petitioner as well as her father, both of whom are adamant that the pregnancy should be terminated,” the court said in its order.
The single-judge bench noted that Sanjay Agarwal, director professor of psychiatry, had interacted with the rape victim and found that the unwanted pregnancy was causing “considerable amount of distress” to her.
“He (Agarwal) is further of the view that carrying the pregnancy further poses a risk to her well being and would continue to cause much distress to the petitioner. This risk is enhanced considering the allegation that the conception was a result of a rape,” the court said.
Following this, the judge allowed the minor to terminate her pregnancy, expeditiously and preferably before December 4. It said the tissue of the foetus would be preserved for further DNA test, if necessary.
The minor said she was raped repeatedly for a year by a man, who fathered the child. On November 3, an FIR was registered at Karawal Nagar police station against the man for sexually abusing her.
The girl was admitted to a hospital from November 22 to November 26 where it found that her foetus was 22 weeks old and could not be terminated in accordance with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP), which put a ceiling of 20 weeks. She then moved court, seeking permission to terminate her pregnancy.