A 13-year-old rape victim has approached the Bombay High Court seeking permission to terminate her pregnancy.
The victim’s father has sought permission to abort her 25-week-old foetus, citing “right to life, health, dignity, informed choice, reproductive autonomy, equality and to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment”.
The father had to approach the High Court as under the law, abortions are prohibited after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
“The petitioner and his daughter have suffered immense mental and physical anguish as a result of the unreasonable 20 weeks restriction under Sections 3(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act,” states the petition.
A bench of Justices Shantanu Kemkar and G S Kulkarni has now directed the medical board of expert doctors at KEM hospital to examine the health condition of the victim and determine whether a medical termination of pregnancy will be safe at this late stage.
According to the petition, the girl was repeatedly raped by her cousin, who used to live in the same house as her and her parents. On November 9, 2017, the girl complained to her father of severe pain in her abdomen. He took the girl to a doctor, who told him his daughter was pregnant. The father then lodged an FIR on November 17 at the Ghatkopar police station.
“Given that the body of a girl as young as 13 years is not developed fully for pregnancy, the continuation of the same continues to cause increased risk of physical and mental injury to the mother thus creating increased risk to the life of the adolescent mother and therefore a situation such as this warrants permission for termination of pregnancy
at given stage,” states the petition.
The petition is seeking orders against the 20-week ceiling to carry out the abortion besides constitution of a medical committee for the examination of the petitioner’s daughter to assist the court in arriving at a decision.
“Forcing the petitioner’s daughter to continue an unwanted pregnancy will deprive her of her right to safeguard the privacy of procreation, motherhood and child-bearing, as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution,” the plea reads.