Kerala High Court allows Minor Rape Victim to undergo termination of pregnancy

  • Salil Tiwari
  • 04:02 PM, 22 Sep 2021

For the third time in a week, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday allowed medical termination of a 16-year-old girl’s 8-week pregnancy. The abortion was earlier refused by the hospital authorities as the minor was a rape victim.

The matter had come up before the High Court on Monday, where the petitioner’s counsel told the court that the hospital authorities were worried that they would be prosecuted for destruction of evidence, if they carry out the termination of pregnancy.

Subsequently, the court had directed the state government lawyer to take instructions in the matter and listed it for hearing on Wednesday.

Reportedly, on Wednesday, the government lawyer said that in the instant case, permission of the court was not required as under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, a pregnancy of less than 12 weeks can be aborted by a medical practitioner if he or she is of the opinion that continuing with it would be detrimental to mental and physical health of the victim.

Resultantly, court directed the girl's father to approach a government hospital with a copy of the instant order for carrying out medical termination of the pregnancy.

This was the third such order, with the first one being on September 14 where the court has allowed the plea for abortion after a medical board recommended termination of the pregnancy.

In the earlier two cases, the pregnancy was above 20 weeks, the maximum limit prescribed under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy of Act for aborting a fetus.

The earlier two victims were more than 26 weeks pregnant. However, the high court permitted termination of the pregnancy saying that freedom of a pregnant woman in making a choice as to whether the pregnancy should be continued cannot be taken away.

More and more minor rape victims are knocking the doors of High Court seeking abortions which were a result of the sexual assault on them. In July also, such a pregnancy termination was allowed where the minor rape victim was mentally challenged as well.

Reportedly, between May 2020 and January 2021, the high court had granted similar relief to seven minor girls who were sexually assaulted which resulted in their pregnancy.

Kerala High Court had earlier lamented the increasing cases of rape of minors in the state, while hearing a criminal appeal. Court has said that it is a matter of shame that every other case pertains to rape of a minor.

Based on a report by Matrubhumi.