Tuesday, May 11, 2010

13-yr-old rape victim allowed to abort pregnancy in Guj

The Gujarat High Court on Monday permitted a 13-year-old rape victim to terminate her pregnancy. The court observed the girl and her family, who came from the poor strata of society, would face mental, physical, social and economic problems in future if the abortion was not allowed.

Acting on a petition filed by the girl's mother seeking permission for abortion, Justice AS Dave directed the Surendranagar general hospital civil surgeon to medically terminate the pregnancy.

The court gave the order on the basis of medical certificates confirming the victim's health would not be affected. The judge, however, clarified that "if the doctors are of the opinion that termination of pregnancy would affect the life and safety of the minor, they shall not terminate the pregnancy".

The court has asked the police to preserve the foetus and send it for a DNA test. The girl, now 13 weeks pregnant, will be discharged from hospital only after she is declared medically fit. She will also be called for periodic check-ups.

The parents of the girl from a village in Halvad had first approached the sessions court when they found that the girl had become pregnant after being raped by her neighbour Ghanshyamsinh Rajput. The parents filed an FIR against Rajput before they came to know of the pregnancy.

When the girl was taken to a local doctor for abortion, he refused since it was a police case. The parents then approached the sessions judge in Dhrangadhra, who turned down their plea for abortion.

After considering provisions of Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, the judge observed that the family had failed to prove that the child to be born was likely to suffer any physical or mental disability and therefore the pregnancy could not be terminated. The case went to the High Court, which quashed the sessions court's order.

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