Mumbai: A 14-year-old rape survivor on Wednesday approached the Bombay high court seeking permission to terminate her 24-week pregnancy.
The girl, who is also a cancer patient, was raped earlier this year and an FIR was registered in the case, according to the plea. However, her pregnancy was detected only recently when she went to a local hospital for her chemotherapy session.
The girl’s father is a daily wage labourer and her mother works as a domestic help. When they learnt about her pregnancy, they approached an NGO, which in turn helped them get in touch with some lawyers and file the plea in the high court.
A bench of Justices A.S. Oka and M.S. Sonak has now directed the dean of the JJ hospital in the city to “immediately” constitute a panel of expert doctors, including a psychiatrist, to assess the girl’s health condition and to suggest whether a medical termination of the pregnancy at such late stage can be permitted.
The bench directed the panel of doctors to submit the report by Friday. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act permits abortions after consultation with one doctor up to 12 weeks.
Between 12 to 20 weeks, medical opinion of two doctors is required in such cases, where the fetus has abnormalities, or in which the woman faces risks to her physical or mental well being due to continuing with the pregnancy.
Beyond the 20 weeks limit, exceptions are legally permissible only if continuation of the pregnancy poses a threat to the child’s or the mother’s life.