The family of a 13-year-old sexual assault victim plans to ask the Supreme Court of India to allow her to abort her late-term unborn baby.
Authorities said the young girl from Goregaon, India is in shock about the pregnancy and has not spoken about how the sexual assault occurred, according to The Hindu.
Abortions are illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in India. However, women increasingly have been petitioning the high court for permission to abort their late-term unborn babies because of fetal abnormalities. Some families of young rape victims also have made requests to the high court.
The girl’s parents took her to the doctor recently after they noticed that she was gaining weight rapidly, the report states. Doctors discovered that she was pregnant, currently about 27 weeks, One News India reports.
“The girl, studying in the sixth or seventh standard, was clueless that she was carrying a baby. Her mother asked if she can undergo an abortion. Since she can’t as per the law, we plan to approach the Supreme Court on Monday,” said Dr. Nikhil Datar, who is helping the family petition the court for a late-term abortion.
Malwani Police said the girl has not talked about the sexual assault, but they are trying to find the man who impregnated her.
“She has not told us who is responsible for the sexual assault or where it occurred. The incident occurred at least seven months ago,” according to police.
The court has received an increasing number of petitions for late-term abortions in the past few years. Because of their frequency, the Supreme Court of India asked the government in July to consider setting up a permanent medical board to examine late-term abortion petitions, according to the Herald. Currently, the courts set up temporary medical boards to examine individual cases.
Typically, the Indian high court’s decisions about late-term abortion petitions have been based on the physical health of the mother and/or her unborn child.
In May, it gave a 10-year-old rape victim permission to have her unborn baby aborted.
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Dr. Ashok Chauhan, a panelist in the case, described the situation as “borderline” because the girl was about 20 weeks pregnant, the legal limit. The panel also mentioned concerns about the young girl’s physical and mental health.
In 2015, the India Supreme 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 physically or emotionally fit to have a baby.
However, the court refused to give another 10-year-old rape victim permission to abort her late-term unborn baby this year, saying an abortion would not be good for the mother or the unborn baby.
Earlier this week, the high court also gave a woman permission to have a late-term abortion because her baby has a fatal condition.
The law prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. At 20 weeks, an 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.