The Gujarat High Court has allowed termination of 22-week pregnancy of a 14-year-old rape survivor, holding abortion was in the "best interest" of the teenager.
Gujarat high court has allowed a minor rape survivor to get her 22-week pregnancy terminated after a lower court had earlier denied permission on health grounds.
In this case, 14-year old rape survivor from Rajkot was carrying a pregnancy of over 20 weeks. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act prohibits abortion beyond a 20-week pregnancy. The victim's father had tried his luck with the lower court when the pregnancy was of 18 weeks. Upon obtaining medical opinion, the court refused permission for abortion.
By the time, the family moved the HC, pregnancy advanced into 23rd week. It was argued that the victim was too young to continue to continue with pregnancy and she has extremely low blood pressure. Her haemoglobin level was just 6.5. While permitting the abortion, the high court said that her trauma, mental agony and possibility of social ostracism are required to be kept in view. The court's decision has to be guided by the best interest of the victim alone and not of the other stakeholders or guardians.
The HC permitted senior expert doctors of the Government Medical College at Rajkot to make a call on this issue in the interest of the girl by taking due care. The court also ordered doctors to preserve tissues of the fetus for DNA test in order to aid in the criminal prosecution of the accused.
Last year, two such cases generated considerable controversy. A married 23-year old gang rape survivor was denied permission for abortion by the HC because her pregnancy had advanced beyond 20 weeks. As she refused to accept her newborn, the state government had to take the child into custody.
In the second such case, a 12-year old was refused permission for abortion by the HC. However, the Supreme Court permitted her family to get her pregnancy terminated and directed Ahmedabad Civil Hospital to take extra care of her health. This case became a landmark judgment paving the way for abortion even beyond 20-week pregnancies, Indian media reports.