A young victim of sexual violence in India will be subjected to even more violence, as well as her unborn child, after a Chhattisgarh High Court granted her family’s request for a late-term abortion Monday.
Zeenews India reports the 13-year-old girl allegedly was raped by a neighbor and became pregnant earlier this year; she is now 26 weeks pregnant.
Her unborn baby is past the point of viability, as well as the 20-week legal abortion limit in India. Countries have good reasons for prohibiting later-term abortions. At 20 weeks, an unborn baby already is nearly fully formed and close to the point of viability (about 22-23 weeks). Later-term abortions also are much more risky for the mother. However, Indian courts increasingly have been granting exceptions to rape victims and women carrying unborn babies with disabilities.
According to the court order, the young girl will have her unborn baby aborted at a medical college in Raipur, with six doctors performing the deadly procedure. The court also ordered that her abortion be free of charge to her family.
The young girl’s father petitioned the court for a late-term abortion for his daughter, the report states. It is unclear if the girl wants the abortion or even understands what will happen to her and her unborn baby.
In January, another court in India allowed a woman to have an abortion at 29 weeks of pregnancy after her unborn baby was diagnosed with heart, brain and gastrointestinal anomalies. In the fall, the Supreme Court of India also granted an exception for a woman whose unborn baby had potentially fatal kidney problems. She was 31 weeks pregnant.
Unborn babies generally are considered viable outside the womb at 24 weeks of pregnancy, though new research indicates that babies are surviving even earlier. Most countries prohibit abortions after the first trimester or, as is the case in India, during the second trimester. The U.S. is one of only a handful of countries that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks. Others include China, North Korea and Vietnam.
Below is an ultrasound image of a baby at 26 weeks.