The Bombay High Court denied permission to a 16-year-old rape survivor, who was in her 27th week of pregnancy, to undergo an abortion, citing the report of a panel of doctors which examined her.
A bench headed by Justice Ranjit More turned down the plea filed by the girl’s father on her behalf seeking that she be allowed to terminate her pregnancy.
The order came after a panel of doctors from KEM hospital and GS Medical College in the city submitted a report advising that the girl continue with the pregnancy owing to the potential risks to her health if the pregnancy is terminated at such a late stage.
A panel of eight doctors had medically examined the girl on Thursday.
The girl’s father had claimed in the plea that continuing the pregnancy would cause grave injury to her.
He had said that she was not keeping good health, that she was suffering from anaemia, and that having and raising a child of rape would also cause further mental and physical trauma to her.
During the hearing, the girl’s lawyer also invoked her right to a life of dignity as guaranteed by the Constitution, and argued that subjecting a minor girl to a pregnancy that she does not desire was in breach of her constitutional rights.
The bench, however, said that it could not go against the suggestion of the medical experts, and the law that does not permit the termination of a pregnancy after 20 weeks unless the mother’s life is in danger.
It noted that the doctors’ 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.
The doctors’ panel had also suggested in its report that if the girl and her family did not wish to raise the child, they could give it up for adoption.
According to the complaint registered by the girl’s family with the Thane police in August this year, a local delivery boy raped and sexually assaulted her after promising marriage.
He, however, later absconded and the girl discovered that she was pregnant when she went to a hospital for a check up.