The Supreme Court has denied permission to a 10-year-old girl who had appealed for an abortion. The court had sought a report on the girl’s state, which was handed over to a medical board comprising senior doctors. The eight-member panel of doctors, who ranged from psychiatry to gynaecology and paediatrics, examined the girl.
The girl is 32 weeks’ pregnant, and the medical report said that aborting now would be too risky.
The judges have ruled that termination is “not good for the girl”. They have asked the government-run Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research hospital in Chandigarh to make sure that proper medical care is provided to the girl. The SC also suggested that the government set up a permanent medical board in each state to take faster decisions in such cases.
Should our legal system have worked quicker, before the child reached 32 weeks, to deliver a judgment?
Lawyer Mamta Bhatt says that the fault isn’t within the legal system. “The abortion act is perfectly fine. If there is an emergency, special application in the courts immediately takes the matter on board. The doctors or the other authorities delayed the process. The legal system does act in times of emergency,” she tells SheThePeople.TV.
The abortion law doesn’t allow termination after 20 weeks unless doctors confirm that abortion will not endanger the mother’s life.
The girl was raped many times over the past seven months by her uncle. She discovered she was pregnant after her parents took her to the hospital following her complaints of a stomach ache.
The girl’s father is a government employee, and her mother works as a domestic help. A psychiatrist who met the girl said that she does not understand that she is pregnant, or the implications of being pregnant. Her advocate Alok Srivastava told the SC that doctors thought that the pelvic bones of the girl were not developed and full-term pregnancy was very risky.
What does it mean for a 10-year-old to give birth? Surely, the emotional ramifications on the girl will be severe, given that psychiatrists have evaluated that she does not even understand her condition.