A very young victim of sexual abuse in India will not be allowed to abort her late-term unborn baby, according to a court decision Tuesday.
The Times of India reports the court refused the request after medical examiners determined that the abortion could endanger the 10-year-old girl’s life.
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 10-year-old girl from Chandigarh, India allegedly was raped by her maternal uncle and became pregnant, according to the report. Her family requested permission for the young girl to have an abortion; she is six months pregnant with her unborn child. It’s unclear what her wishes are in the matter.
At 6 months, her unborn baby already is fully formed and viable outside the womb. Whether the unborn baby’s life also was considered in the court’s decision is unknown.
Here’s more from the report:
The court made the decision based on a medical report filed by the gynaecological department of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. The report said abortion at this stage could lead to dangerous consequences. A doctor of the gynaecological department present in the court said abortion at this stage could have serious health issues for the rape survivor.
Local police report the uncle who allegedly raped the girl, Kul Bahadur, has been arrested, the Tribune India reports. He allegedly raped the girl seven or eight times, according to police.
The girl’s mother said she found out about the abuse and pregnancy when her daughter began to complain about stomach pain.
In May, a very similar case appeared before the India Supreme Court. The high court granted permission for a 10-year-old rape victim to have an abortion when she was about 20 weeks pregnant. In that case, the girl’s stepfather allegedly raped her.
Dr. Ashok Chauhan, a panelist in the case, described the situation as “borderline” because the girl was approximately 20 weeks pregnant, the legal abortion limit. The panel also mentioned concerns about the young girl’s physical and mental health.
Similarly, 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.
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 is 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 India Supreme Court overturned his ruling and allowed the unborn baby to be aborted.
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 as well as her unborn child.