This Article is From Apr 18, 2015

'Bravely Go Ahead, Have the Baby,' Court Tells Gang-Rape Survivor Who Wanted Abortion

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Ahmedabad: A woman who wanted to terminate her 28-week pregnancy after being allegedly gang-raped, has been told by a Gujarat court to "bravely go ahead and deliver the child." The woman had told the court that she feared her husband and his family would never accept the child.

The Gujarat high court, while rejecting the rape survivor's petition on Thursday, asked the state administration to look after her and make sure her baby is not abandoned.

The woman, who is from Saurashtra, had filed an FIR or police complaint on March 16, alleging that she was kidnapped in July last year from outside her home and gang-raped by seven men who moved her from place to place for about 10 months.

When she went to the police, she was 24 weeks pregnant. A district court rejected her plea for abortion saying it was "too late" and could endanger her life. The high court endorsed the ruling.

"I am conscious of the fact that to carry a child in the womb after an act of rape is not only extremely traumatic for her but also humiliating, frightening and psychologically devastating. In Indian society, she becomes an object of scorn and ostracisation," said Gujarat high court judge JB Pardiwala.

"The applicant will have to bravely go ahead with the pregnancy and when time comes, she should deliver the child. I am conscious of the fact that it is easy for a judge to say so in his judgment because it is ultimately the applicant who will have to face hard days ahead. Yet, howsoever harsh one may find the law, it remains the law and one has to respect it. She must understand that termination at this stage will put her own life in peril."

The court directed the state government to help the woman with medical facilities and ordered police protection for her and her family. Top district officials have been asked to keep a close watch on the woman's family, including her husband.

The petitioner's lawyer says they will decide now whether to appeal the high court's decision.