September 15, 2021 5:58:03 pm
The Kerala High Court has permitted termination of the 26 week long pregnancy of a minor rape victim, at her risk, saying that freedom of a pregnant woman in making a choice as to whether the pregnancy should be continued cannot be taken away.
The court also said that under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, where any pregnancy is alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, the anguish caused by such a pregnancy shall be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.
In view of the provision under the Act and having regard to the victim’s age and the circumstances of her pregnancy, its continuance “would involve grave injury to her physical and mental health” and “it is in the interest of justice to permit medical termination of the pregnancy”, the court said.
It also directed that if the foetus survives the process, the hospital authorities have to ensure the baby’s life is protected.
The court also directed the hospital to preserve blood and tissue samples of the foetus to carry out necessary medical tests, including DNA mapping.
The order came on a plea moved by the minor rape victim and her parents, seeking a direction to the Kozhikode Medical College to medically terminate her pregnancy as the hospital was refusing to carry out the procedure in view of its advanced stage.
The court allowed the plea after a medical board, which examined the girl, gave a report stating that she might require multiple inductions to abort the foetus, failing which surgical intervention may be required.
The report also stated that the foetus may survive.
It, however, said that medical termination of pregnancy can be considered in view of the facts of the case.
“In the result, the writ petition is allowed and the third petitioner (victim) is permitted to undergo the procedure for termination of the pregnancy. The respondents concerned would be free to undertake the said procedure at the risk of the third petitioner.
The hospital authorities shall preserve the blood sample and tissue sample of the foetus to carry out necessary medical tests including DNA mapping. In case the child is born alive, the hospital authorities shall ensure that all necessary steps are taken for protecting the life of the child,” the court said.
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