Abortion not possible for 10-year-old rape victim: PGI-Chandigarh doctors
India has a 20-week legal ceiling on abortion. Law allows a woman to abort but only after doctors confirm it is necessary to save the mother’s life. The SC has been receiving petitions, including from rape victims, to terminate pregnancies beyond 20 weeks; and uit has referred these to medical experts before any orders. Recently, the court gave a 10-year-old rape victim from Haryana the permission to abort.Updated: Jul 24, 2017 20:19 IST
Gynaecologists from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) have ruled out the possibility of aborting the nearly eight-month pregnancy of a 10-year-old rape victim.
“It will be just like delivering a baby,” said a senior gynaecologist from the premier government hospital, which was on Monday tasked by the Supreme Court with examining if the pregnancy can be terminated. As per SC directions, the PGIMER has constituted an eight-member committee that would formally check if the health of the girl and the child would be adversely affected if the pregnancy is allowed to extend to its full term up to delivery.
HT interacted with some gynecologists from the PGIMER and also Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, to know their views. Almost all of them ruled out aborting the 30-week foetus due to medical reasons.
A senior gynaecologist from GMCH-32 told HT, “The baby cannot be aborted. They can go to any apex court or any hospital. The child has crossed the time to abort the baby.”
“Ten- to 12-year old children getting pregnant are rare cases. In the last five years, I have seen only two such cases; one mother was 10 and the other, 12,” said a PGIMER gynaecologist. She said that in both cases the babies were delivered safely via Caesarian (C-section). “The mother is so fragile that she cannot bear the trauma of labour pain and natural delivery. We could not let the 10-year-old undergo so much pain; so in that case we conducted elective C-section, wherein delivery was done even before the labour pain began,” she added.
When asked if C-section is safer than natural delivery among pregnant children, she said, “So far, no study on that has been done.” About risk factors, she said, “Surgically, the risk is as much as it is in any other surgery. But the pregnancy will be more complicated than that in adult women.”
Meanwhile, on the panel constituted by the PGIMER are Dr D Behera, head of pulmonary medicine department, as chairperson; Dr Vipin Koushal from the hospital administration as member-secretary; Dr Vanita Suri, head, gynaecology; Dr Surjit Singh, head, paediatrics; Dr N Khandelwal, head, radio-diagnosis; Dr Ajit Awasthi, head, psychiatry; Dr Swati Kumari, head, internal medicine; and Dr Manoj Kumar Rohit from the cardiology department.
The SC bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had also asked member-secretary of the state legal services authority to assist the panel in the examination to be held on Wednesday. The next hearing is on Friday.
India has a 20-week legal ceiling on abortion. Law allows a woman to abort but only after doctors confirm it is necessary to save the mother’s life. The SC has been receiving petitions, including from rape victims, to terminate pregnancies beyond 20 weeks; and uit has referred these to medical experts before any orders. Recently, the court gave a 10-year-old rape victim from Haryana the permission to abort.
The Chandigarh case came to light 10 days ago after the girl was taken to hospital for stomach ache. The girl was raped allegedly by her maternal uncle, a hotel worker, repeatedly over seven months. He has been arrested. The girl’s family hails from Nepal and has been residing in servants’ quarters in one of the southern sectors in Chandigarh. Her father is a watchman and the mother works as a domestic help.