The Bombay High Court on Friday refused to grant permission to a 16-year-old rape survivor to medically terminate her pregnancy. A bench led by Justice Ranjit More turned down the plea filed by the girl’s father on her behalf, seeking that she be allowed to abort her 27-week foetus.
The court passed the order after considering a report by a panel of eight doctors from KEM Hospital and GS Medical College saying that terminating the pregnancy at such a late stage posed a risk to her health. The panel had medically examined the girl on Thursday.
In his petition, the girl’s father contended that continuing the pregnancy would cause grave injury to her. He said that she was not in good health and was anemic and that giving birth to and raising a child conceived out of rape would cause further mental and physical trauma to her.
During the hearing on Friday, the lawyer appearing for the father argued that subjecting a minor girl to an undesired pregnancy was in breach of her constitutional rights. The bench, however, said that it could not go against the advice of the medical experts. Moreover, the law does not permit termination of a pregnancy after 20 weeks unless the mother’s life is in danger. The court noted that the medical panel had concluded that there was no risk to the health of the girl or the foetus if the pregnancy was continued to its full term.
According to a complaint registered by the girl’s family with the Thane police in August, a local delivery boy allegedly raped and sexually assaulted her after promising marriage. He, however, later became incommunicado. The girl discovered her pregnancy when she went to a hospital for some other check-up.