For at least the third time this year, the parents of a very young pregnant rape victim are asking the Supreme Court of India to allow their daughter to have a late-term abortion.
This new case involves a 13-year-old girl from Mumbai who is 30-weeks pregnant with her unborn child, according to the BBC. The man who allegedly raped her, a co-worker of her father, has been arrested.
Abortions are illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in India. However, women or their families increasingly have been petitioning the high court for permission to abort their late-term unborn babies because of rape or fetal anomalies.
The 13-year-old girl’s parents said they were not aware of the abuse or their young daughter’s pregnancy until about three weeks ago. They said they took her to the doctor because she was rapidly gaining weight, and they thought she was having problems with her thyroid.
Gynecologist Dr. Nikhil Datar told the BBC: “She was brought to me by her parents on 9 August. They suspected she had a thyroid problem or some other medical condition because she was gaining weight. The scan showed that she was 27 weeks pregnant so I informed the police.”
Datar said the young girl understands that she is pregnant, though she does not fully comprehend what that means. It is unclear what the girl’s wishes are regarding her unborn child.
Datar recommended a late-term abortion, arguing that the girl’s pelvis is not fully developed and childbirth could cause her physical and mental trauma. However, the doctor did not explain how the abortion will be less risky than childbirth. Late-term abortions also involve inducing labor and giving birth to the baby’s body.
A late-term abortion is a very risky, multiple day procedure that can kill the mother as well as her unborn baby. On the first day, the abortionist typically injects a poison into the unborn baby’s heart or head to kill them. They also begin to dilate the mother’s cervix to prepare for childbirth. On the third or fourth day, they induce labor and the mother gives birth to a dead baby.
For this reason, the Supreme Court of India rejected another family’s request for a late-term abortion earlier this summer. In that case, the 10-year-old girl’s parents requested the late-term abortion without their daughter’s knowledge; the Supreme Court of India rejected their petition after medical examiners determined that the abortion could endanger the 10-year-old girl’s life.
The 10-year-old delivered her child via cesarean section on Aug. 17, according to the local news. Alakh Alok Srivastava, a lawyer for the girl’s family, told CNN that the girl’s parents are making an adoption plan for the baby.
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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 give birth to her 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 in 2015 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.