10-Year-Old Rape Survivor Can't Have Abortion, Says Supreme Court

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10-Year-Old Rape Survivor Can't Have Abortion, Says Supreme Court

10-year-old rape survivor's abortion plea rejected by Supreme Court over 'threat to her life' (file)

New Delhi:  A 10-year-old raped by her uncle will not be allowed to have an abortion, the Supreme Court ruled today, rejecting the petition by a Supreme Court lawyer. The court said it was basing its decision on the assessment of doctors who said that a medical termination was not safe either for the girl or the foetus. She is 32 weeks pregnant.

The court had earlier this week asked doctors at Chandigarh's PGI to examine the girl to see if an abortion was safe. It has today ordered that proper medical care be provided to the girl child.

The law does not allow medical terminations after 20 weeks unless there is a threat to the mother's life. Advocate Alak Alok moved the Supreme Court after the appeal to abort the then 26-week foetus was rejected by a lower court, despite warnings that the child's body was not ready for childbirth.

Her pregnancy was only discovered recently after her parents took her to hospital when she complained of stomach pain. They discovered that the girl had been repeatedly raped by her uncle over seven months.

There have been several pleas in courts from rape survivors seeking permission to terminate pregnancies following abuse. In many cases, the women only discovered they were pregnant when late in their term.

In May this year, the Supreme Court had allowed a 10-year-old rape survivor from the Haryana to abort her nearly 21-week foetus.

The country has a grim record of sexual assaults on minors with 20,000 cases of rape or sexual assaults reported in 2015, according to government data. A UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2014 said one in three rape victims in India was a minor and expressed alarm at the widespread sexual abuse of children.

Almost 50 per cent of the abusers are known to the victims. Sex -- whether consensual or otherwise -- with a person aged below 18 is considered rape in India.

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