HC allows sexual assault victim to terminate 24-week pregnancy

Mumbai, May 18 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Monday permitted a 24-week pregnant minor victim of sexual assault to medically terminate her pregnancy.

Justice SJ Kathawalla permitted the 17-year-old to undergo the procedure at JJ hospital in the city after a medical board of the hospital submitted that the victim was fit to undergo the procedure.

On May 15, Justice Kathawalla had directed the board to assess the victim's condition and report back to the court.

He had passed the direction after the victim told him over video conferencing that she was undergoing mental trauma due to the pregnancy and that she wanted to terminate it in order to 'concentrate on her studies and build a future' for herself.

On Monday, the board of doctors told HC that while the fetus did not have any medical anomalies, the victim ran the risk of developing pregnancy related complications such as anemia, and complications during labour.

Besides, since she had said that she did not wish to carry the pregnancy to term, forcing her to give birth might result in a 'psychological impact' and result in an uncertain future for her, the medical board submitted.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the minor's mother seeking that the girl be permitted to terminate the pregnancy since it was the result of a sexual assault that she had endured last year.

The mother told HC that the police had already filed a case of sexual assault against the minor's perpetrator.

As per the plea, the girl, who is 17 years old now, eloped from her parents' home in the city in November last year.

She returned in January this year and in May realised she was pregnant.

As per the girl, she left her parent's house and got a job at a factory near Navi Mumbai, where the accused also worked.

'Considering the desire the petitioner and her minor daughter expressed before this court as well as the specific opinion of the Medical Board, it is imperative to permit the petitioner's daughter to undergo medical termination of pregnancy,' HC said. PTI AYA BNM BNM