Supreme Court allows 13-year-old Mumbai rape survivor to terminate pregnancy

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a 13-year-old rape survivor from Mumbai to terminate her 31-week-old pregnancy, reports said.

"Keeping in view the age of the petitioner (victim), the trauma she faced, we allow her to terminate her pregnancy," Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said in its order, according to ANI.

The decision has come just six weeks after the apex court rejected a similar application by a 10-year-old rape survivor on medical grounds. The apex court's decision had come under severe criticism from several human rights groups.

SC. Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

In its previous hearings, a bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao had directed the constitution of a medical board at Mumbai-based Sir JJ Group of Hospitals to examine the minor girl and ascertain the condition and advisability of permitting abortion, BBC had reported.

"Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy," it said.

The medical board at JJ Hospital, which had examined the teenager, however, had given a go-ahead to the termination of pregnancy, Economic Times had reported, however, the board had put the onus on the apex court stating that terminating the pregnancy as well as a full-term delivery would carry an equal amount of risk for the teenager.

The order, however, is likely to be more of a victory of the teenager's right to terminate a pregnancy, and not actually a termination of the foetus. As a source from the hospital told Economic Times, by terminating the pregnancy, the doctors will actually be "delivering the child and not technically carrying out an abortion" as a Cesarean section would most likely be carried out.

The question of ethics, the doctor had said will appear if the child is born alive during the procedure, it said.

The verdict is one of the first cases which could be said to have been influenced (and come after) the Supreme Court's path-breaking judgment on Right to Privacy, which also had also discussed the debate surrounding abortions.

In the 547-page verdict on Right to Privacy, a nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by former chief justice JS Khehar, had said that the right to terminate life also falls in the zone of Right to Privacy.

Updated Date: Sep 06, 2017 15:37 PM

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