Authorities in India opened a new investigation this week after a DNA test showed the baby of a 10-year-old rape victim was not her uncle’s.
The young girl from Chandigarh, Punjab allegedly was raped by her uncle and became pregnant earlier this year. When her parents discovered that she was pregnant about six months into her pregnancy, they asked the Supreme Court of India to let her have a late-term abortion.
However, the high court refused their request after doctors said the abortion was too risky. The girl gave birth in August.
The Daily Mail reports the girl told police her uncle abused her, and police said the uncle admitted to the crime. He currently is in prison, facing sexual assault charges. However, new DNA evidence indicates that the baby is not his, according to the report.
Police said they now believe the girl may have been abused by several men.
Here’s more from the report:
‘So far no-one had thought of any other possibility,’ an official involved with the investigation told the BBC.
‘The girl had testified to the court on video conferencing and in her statement she had very clearly named the uncle and revealed facts about her abuse.’
Police have now reopened the case after the DNA test and are investigating whether the girl may have been raped by others.
Authorities said they also want to recheck the test to confirm that it is accurate, the Evening Standard reports.
The girl’s parents are making an adoption plan for the baby girl, unbeknownst to her. According to reports, the family and doctors did not tell the young girl that she was pregnant. This means the abortion request and adoption plan were made by her parents without her knowledge or consent.
“Her doctor told CNN the girl didn’t know she was pregnant. Her parents told her that she needed surgery for a kidney stone problem, and refused to allow medical professionals to tell their child the truth …” CNN reported in August.
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Sexual abuse is a huge problem in India, with 20,000 cases of sexual assaults reported in 2015, according to government data reported by AFP.
The high court has heard a number of requests for late-term abortions from families of young rape victims in the past few months. Abortions are illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in India, but the high court has granted a number of exceptions for young rape victims.
Earlier in September, the Supreme Court gave a 13-year-old girl permission to abort her unborn baby at 32 weeks; however, the girl gave birth to a live baby. The baby boy died two days later, likely because his lungs were underdeveloped.
In May, the high court granted permission for a 10-year-old rape victim to have a late-term 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.
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.