High Court Allows Mentally Challenged Woman To Abort 22-Week-Old Foetus

In a significant order, the court also ruled that as the victim was mentally challenged and incapable of taking her own decisions, her legal guardian -- in this case her mother must be allowed to take the decision on her behalf.

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High Court Allows Mentally Challenged Woman To Abort 22-Week-Old Foetus

The girl was allegedly raped in November (Representational)

Mumbai:  The Bombay High Court on Wednesday gave permission to a mentally challenged rape victim to abort her 22-week-old foetus.

In a significant order, the court also ruled that as the victim was mentally challenged and incapable of taking her own decisions, her legal guardian -- in this case her mother must be allowed to take the decision on her behalf.

A division bench of Justices R M Borde and Vibha Kankanwadi held that the victim, or her legal guardian, had the right to decide whether she wished to continue the pregnancy which was the result of a sexual assault.

The bench cited the Supreme Court's 2009 order that had held that a woman's right to exercise her reproductive choices was part of personal liberty guaranteed by the constitution.

"The freedom of making choices is an integral part of a woman's personal liberty and it cannot be taken away," the bench said.

As per the plea filed by the victim's mother, the victim, a resident of the Nandurbar district of Maharashtra, was allegedly raped by an unknown person in November this year.

When the family realised that she was pregnant, they visited a local hospital for medical termination of the pregnancy.

However, the hospital refused though the victim was only 18 weeks pregnant.

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The hospital authorities refused to perform abortion on the ground that the victim, with hearing and speaking disability and mentally challenged, was not capable of giving a clear consent for the procedure.

Subsequently, the victim's mother moved the high court, seeking permission to abort the foetus.

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