Medical Board Meeting to Determine if Raped Teen Can Abort Her 14-Week-Old Baby

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 25, 2017   |   4:27PM   |   New Delhi, India

An Indian board of medical doctors will consider an abortion request from another rape victim this week.

The Times of India reports the high court in the state of Rajasthan, India recently ruled that a panel of doctors should be established to review whether the woman should be allowed to abort her unborn baby.

The Dholpur woman, whose age is not mentioned, said she became pregnant after she was raped, and she wants an abortion. She is 14-weeks pregnant.

By 14 weeks, an unborn baby has brain waves, a heartbeat and fully formed fingers and toes. The baby’s lips and nose have formed, and taste buds are present on the tongue. Unborn babies at this stage also have been observed yawning and sucking their thumbs.

According to the law in India, a woman may not have an abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy unless at least two doctors agree to allow it, the report states.

The woman said she did not know she was pregnant until she was about 12 weeks along, according to the report.

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The report explains:

As per Section 3(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971, a pregnancy may be terminated by a registered medical practitioner where the length of the pregnancy does not exceed 12 weeks.

However, there are exceptions where the length of the pregnancy exceeds 12 weeks but does not exceed 20 weeks, if not less than two registered medical practitioners are, of opinion, formed in good faith that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health; or there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.

The news comes shortly after another panel of doctors in India granted a 10-year-old rape victim permission to abort her unborn baby at about 20 weeks of pregnancy. The case drew international attention.

After her abortion last week, the 10-year-old was taken into the custody of child welfare officials. Allegedly, the young girl’s stepfather had repeatedly raped her and the girl’s mother urged that her husband to be released from prison.

“The girl’s life is destroyed but what will happen to my other children? I need to think about their future too,” the young girl’s mother told reporters in calling for the alleged rapist’s release.

Local police said the girl’s mother requested the abortion. It is unclear what the young girl’s wishes were in the matter.

Abuse of women and girls has become a national crisis in India. 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).