Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday allowed a 13-year-old survivor of sexual assault to terminate her 26-week-old pregnancy.
The Bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas allowed the petition moved by the father of the child in a special sitting.
According to the order, the bench remarked that the pregnancy might remind the minor of the rape and it is not in the interest of society to have her undergo the trauma everyday.
“It (the pregnancy) may even have the possibility of reminding the victim of the incident of rape. It is obviously not in the interest of society to have this young victim undergo the trauma of the incident of rape everyday in her life. The anguish that the pregnancy causes to her will be lifelong and she may have to live with the traumatic experience throughout her life,” the bench said.
The girl, a survivor of sexual assault allegedly committed by her 14-year-old brother, was found to be pregnant after she went to a hospital complaining of stomach ache.
Since the child’s pregnancy was beyond the gestational age of 20-24 weeks, a Medical Board was constituted.
The Board found that the termination would involve the risk of the foetus being born alive, the need for multiple inductions and surgical intervention if the induction failed.
Subject to this risk, the termination could be allowed, the Board had submitted.
The Court further pointed out, “The termination of pregnancy was allowed if a Medical Board opined that continuing the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical and mental health or there is a substantial risk to the child after born.”
In the case of rape, the anguish on account of the pregnancy is statutorily regarded as a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman, sufficient to terminate the pregnancy on the basis of the opinion of two registered medical practitioners.
Allowing the pregnancy to continue would be traumatic for the child as well as her parents.
The child’s parents also sought for the termination of the pregnancy, citing their child’s trauma and possible genetic disorders upon the unborn child by reason of the survivor’s close relationship with the alleged perpetrator.
In view of the trauma that the minor girl has undergone and taking note of the opinion of the medical board, I am of the view that the writ petition ought to be allowed permitting termination of pregnancy to be performed on the daughter of the petitioner, the bench added.