HC Allows Minor Rape Survivor to Terminate Her 28-Week Pregnancy

The Madras High Court has allowed the termination of the 28-week pregnancy of a 13-year-old rape survivor

In a significant order, the Madras High Court has allowed the termination of a 28-week pregnancy of a 13-year-old rape survivor considering the grave danger to her mental and physical health. Justice Abdul Quddhose recently passed the order based on a medical and feasibility report submitted by experts after hearing a petition filed by the girl’s father. A registered medical practitioner can terminate a pregnancy under circumstances mentioned in Section 3(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, without the intervention of the court only when the length of pregnancy does not exceed a maximum period of 20 weeks.

However, this court has got wider powers than what is prescribed under the Act, the judge said. "The victim girl is 28 weeks plus three days pregnant. Considering the medical report and after giving due consideration to the fact that the victim girl is only 13 years old, this court exercising powers under Article 226 of the constitution has got the power to take judicial notice of those facts and can permit termination of the victim’s pregnancy," the court said. The judge added that the court has taken into consideration the fact that the girl is also not physically and mentally strong enough to uphold the pregnancy and the financial condition of her father who is an agricultural laborer, that not only the girl but also the family would suffer if she delivered a baby. Referring to various judgments of the supreme court and the Madras HC, the judge said, “This court is of the considered view that the petitioner is entitled to obtain a direction to terminate the pregnancy of his minor daughter.” He further directed to nominate one team of specialized doctors to terminate her pregnancy and ordered the removed fetus to be preserved for carrying out medical tests for the purpose of a criminal case pending against the accused who was charged under various sections of the POCSO Act for raping the minor girl.

Also, the Child Welfare Committee of Tiruvannamalai was directed to provide all possible assistance both to the survivor and her parents during the period of their stay in the hospital. However, the procedure of terminating a 28-week pregnancy is almost similar to getting a full-grown child born, but due to premature Delivery, the born child can develop several health disorders. Moreover, the minor girl can develop suicidal thoughts and severe mental issues if the pregnancy is not terminated. What do you think about this? Do mention your thoughts in the comment section below.