A panel of doctors in India said this week that a 10-year-old rape victim should be allowed to abort her late-term unborn baby.
The girl, only recently discovered to be pregnant, is about 20 weeks along in her pregnancy, according to The Express Tribune. Twenty weeks is the legal abortion limit in India; exceptions are allowed if the mother’s life is in danger.
The BBC reports a panel of doctors agreed this week that an abortion should be allowed in the young girl’s case, even if she is past the legal abortion limit.
In a statement to India Today, the Rohtack Women Police Station said: “The victim’s mother had requested the court to allow the abortion of the fetus. The court today directed the medical board to make an appropriate decision keeping in mind the health of the victim. The board has now decided to abort the fetus.”
Dr. Ashok Chauhan, a panelist in the case, described the situation as “borderline” because the girl is about 20 weeks pregnant.
“… it could be 19 weeks or it could be 21 weeks. The technology is not so advanced that it can tell you exactly what week she’s in,” Chauhan said.
Mirage News reports the girl’s family discovered that she was pregnant last week, allegedly to her stepfather. When the girl’s mother suspected the abuse, she reported the stepfather to authorities and took her daughter to a doctor for a pregnancy test, the report states. The family is from Rohtak Town in Haryana, India.
Police said they arrested the stepfather.
The young girl’s abortion could take place soon. It is unclear what her wishes are in the matter.
At 20 weeks, her unborn baby already is fully formed and close to the point of viability (about 23 weeks). Late-term abortions also are risky and can be deadly for the mother as well as her unborn child.
Authorities in India have received a number of late-term abortion requests in the past few years. In January, the Supreme Court granted an exception for a woman whose late-term unborn baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, a brain malformation that typically is fatal, LifeNews reported.
In 2015, the Indian high court also gave an exception to a 14-year-old rape victim who was past 20 weeks pregnant. At the time, the BBC reported a team of doctors decided the girl was not fit to have a baby physically or emotionally.
As LifeNews previously reported, the first judge involved in the case, Abhilasha Kumari, ruled differently. He said it was a difficult decision but concluded that the unborn baby was innocent just like the victim.
Kumari said: “Whatever be the circumstances in which the child was conceived, whatever the trauma of the young mother, the fact remains that the child is also not to blame for being conceived. It did not ask to be born. The child is innocent, just like the victim, its mother.”
However, the Supreme Court overturned his ruling and allowed the unborn baby to be aborted.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 93 women are raped in India every day, and most of the victims know their perpetrators. The NCRB reports the women typically are between 18 and 30 years old (15,556) and 14 and 18 years old (8,877).
After rape, many of these victims are forced to abort their unborn babies to cover up the crimes of their attackers.
Just a few countries allow late-term abortions for any reason when unborn babies are viable outside the womb. The United States and Canada are among them.
Recently, a number of U.S. states passed laws prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates that unborn babies can feel pain. Earlier this month, Iowa became the 17th state to pass a law. However, some states still allow abortions for any reason up to birth.
LifeNews Note: File photo.