In a welcome judgement, the Bombay High Court allowed a 16-year-old rape survivor to terminate pregnancy at 29-weeks.
A bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Madhav Jamdar passed the order last Thursday after considering a report submitted by a court-mandated medical board. “Continuation of the pregnancy in the minor may lead to pregnancy-related complications including impacting the mental health of the pregnant minor mother. In the circumstances, the medical board has recommended medical termination of pregnancy,” the order stated. A petition was filed by the minor’s mother, seeking permission for termination of pregnancy.
The board was constituted by the Bombay High Court. It had asked JJ hospital to constitute a medical board to examine the teen rape survivor.
The case was argued by Advocate Ashley Cusher. It stated that the petitioner’s daughter became pregnant after she was raped earlier this year.
The board’s report stated, “After careful examination of the patient, consideration of an ultrasonography report as well as psychiatrist evaluation, the medical board has observed that though no abnormalities are detectable in the fetus, the fact remains that the pregnant minor mother is anguished by the pregnancy.”
The bench said that the petitioner is free to undergo medical termination of pregnancy at JJ Hospital. The court however pointed that necessary samples may be preserved and handed over to investigating authorities since the petitioner’s daughter become pregnant because of an alleged rape incident. And at the time of the incident, an FIR was registered in Nalasopara. The court will hear the matter next on 20th September.
Abortion remains stigmatised in our country and the final right of abortion still lay with the doctors and not the pregnant woman. In March 2021, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act was amended and termination of pregnancy was allowed till 24 weeks if two medical practitioners considered it necessary.