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Bombay high court allows 13-year-old raped by cousin to abort 25-week-old foetus

On Tuesday, the court also allowed a 27-year-old woman to get her 25-week-old foetus terminated on medical grounds

mumbai Updated: Dec 06, 2017 16:16 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Bombay high court,abortion,rape
KEM Hospital’s medical board of experts said the girl’s life would be at risk if she continued with the pregnancy.(HT File)

In a major reprieve for a 13-year-old rape survivor, the Bombay high court allowed her to medically terminate her 25-week pregnancy on Tuesday.

A division bench of justices Shantanu Kemkar and Girish Kulkarni made the decision based on a medical report submitted by KEM Hospital’s medical board of experts, who said the girl’s life would be at risk if she continued with the pregnancy.

On Tuesday, the bench also allowed a 27-year-old married woman to get her 25-week-old foetus terminated on medical grounds. It noted a medical report, which said there was “substantial risk of the child being physically handicapped, owing to serious neurological and other medical problems”.

Regarding the teen’s abortion plea, the bench said: “Considering the girl’s age, the trauma she suffered and the agony she is currently going through, we allow her to get the foetus aborted.”

The bench has now asked the girl to set an appointment with a gynaecologist at KEM Hospital on Wednesday “so the doctors can medically terminate the pregnancy within a day or two.”

The girl’s cousin had allegedly raped her over two months. After a local physician informed her family about the pregnancy, they tried to obtain a sonography report, but said every radiologist they visited refused to be involved in the matter.

They approached the local police, who lodged a formal complaint and booked cousin under section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

On November 19, doctors conducted a sonography and told the family that the foetus was 25 weeks old and could not be aborted without a high court order, in view of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971, which allows termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks, on the recommendation of a registered medical practitioner.

The girl then approached the high court, seeking to get the foetus aborted. The bench ordered KEM Hospital’s medical board to conduct a complete physiological and psychological status examination of the girl and the foetus. “It will be in the overall interest of the girl to allow the pregnancy to be medically terminated,” the board said.

First Published: Dec 06, 2017 14:35 IST