The Kerala High Court has allowed a minor girl, who was raped, to terminate her 26-week-long pregnancy at her risk, reported PTI on Wednesday. The High Court said that it cannot deny the pregnant girl the freedom to choose whether to continue bearing the child.
The court noted that considering the minor’s age and the circumstances leading to her pregnancy, her continuing to bear the child “would involve grave injury to her physical and mental health”.
The court cited the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act which deals with pregnancy as a result of rape. The Act also mentions about injury to mental health of pregnant women in such cases, the court observed.
The Act, passed in March, had raised the ceiling for abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks in cases of rape or if the child was conceived out of incest. However, the Act mandated the approval of two registered doctors to carry out the abortion.
In this case, the girl and her parents had moved the High Court seeking directions to the Kozhikode Medical College to medically terminate the minor’s pregnancy. They submitted that the hospital had refused to carry out the procedure as the foetus was in an advanced stage, according to PTI.
The court allowed the petition after a medical board said in its report that medical termination of pregnancy can be considered in view of the facts of the case.
However, the report added that the girl might need multiple inductions to abort the foetus. In case, that procedure failed, the abortion would require surgery, the report said.
An induction process involves inducing labour in pregnant women during the second or third trimester by using medication.
In its order, the High Court also directed the hospital authorities to preserve blood and tissue samples of the foetus to conduct medical tests, including DNA mapping.
“In case the child is born alive, the hospital authorities shall ensure that all necessary steps are taken for protecting the life of the child,” the High Court said, according to the news agency.