An Indian woman who petitioned a court to have a late-term abortion after she was raped now wants to keep her child, the Times of India reports.
On Tuesday, the Gujarat High Court dismissed the 32-year-old woman’s request for a late-term abortion after she told a judge that she wants to raise her child, the report states. Abortions are illegal in India after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in rare circumstances when the woman’s life is in danger.
The rape survivor is 23 weeks pregnant with her unborn child; she also is deaf and speech impaired, according to the report. The woman, who lives at a women’s shelter, allegedly was raped by a clerk at the shelter. The accused Amrut Parmar later was arrested, according to the report.
Her request for an abortion initially came through two other workers at the shelter, not the woman herself, the report states. This week, when a judge asked the woman directly if she wanted an abortion, she said no.
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Here’s more from the report:
Justice Sonia Gokani first sought a medical report from VS Hospital on her health status. The report claimed that the pregnancy is not likely to have any adverse effect either on the woman or the fetus. Af ter the medical report, the court asked the institute to obtain services of experts to ascertain the consent of the woman, whether she really wanted to abort the fetus or not. For a second time, the rape survivor’s consent was reported to the court.
However, on Tuesday , when the court inquired about her wish, the rape survivor expressed that she would like to continue with her pregnancy.
Gokani also ordered that the hospital take care of the woman and her unborn child, News World India reports. The judge said the state government would provide financially for the woman and her child.
The reports do not mention why the woman changed her mind or if she may have been pressured into having an abortion. A survey by the Elliot Institute found that rape victims who become pregnant often face pressure to abort their unborn babies. Sometimes the pressure comes from health care workers, counselors, family members or even the abuser.
A majority of rape survivors who become pregnant do not have abortions. Several studies on the issue found between 73 percent and 85 percent of pregnant rape survivors chose life for their unborn babies.