Kerala High Court allows 10-year-old rape victim to terminate pregnancy

The Kerala High Court on Thursday allowed a 10-year-old girl impregnated by her own father to terminate her pregnancy.

As the girl is 31 weeks pregnant, Justice PV Kunhikrishnan directed that if the newborn is alive, the hospital will have to ensure best medical treatment for the baby to develop into a healthy child. The judge also directed the state government and the child welfare committee to take full responsibility of the child if the parents are unwilling to do so.

The girl’s mother, hailing from Kollam district, approached the court for permission under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. Admitting her application, the court on Monday directed that a medical board be formed to examine the stage of the pregnancy. The medical board, in its report, said the girl would require operative delivery, which has anaesthesia-related and surgical risks.

“At 30 weeks 6 days, there is an 80 per cent chance of the baby surviving. There is risk of neonatal morbidities and need for NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) care and also adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes for the newborn baby,” said the report, adding that the doctors were legally and medically bound to resuscitate and give care to the newborn at 30 weeks 6 days.

Justice Kunhikrishnan said he was issuing the order “keeping in mind the Almighty”.

“The alleged culprit is her own father. If the allegation is correct, I am ashamed of and of course, the entire society should bow its head for the same reason. I am sure that the long arm of our legal system will punish him in a manner known to law. Since the victim child is only 10 years old, there is a chance for medical complications to her health. Considering the entire facts and circumstances of the case, according to me, this is a case in which this court should invoke the jurisdiction keeping in mind the Almighty,’’ he said.

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