Bombay High Court grants permission to abort 25 week old pregnancy of minor rape survivor
Ms. X Vs. Union of India & Anr., Writ Petition No.14261 of 2018
On 9th May 2018, the Bombay High Court granted permission to abort 25 week old pregnancy of minor rape victim. The petitioner is a minor, who was a victim of sexual assault and rape, and was impregnated by the same. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 prescribes an upper limit of 20 weeks for terminating a pregnancy. However, the petitioner discovered her pregnancy 23 weeks in, and hence was unable to undergo termination. On 4th May 2018, by an order the Court constituted an expert medical committee composed of the dean and medical experts at Rajwadi Hospital to examine the petitioner.
Their report showed that due to the young age of the petitioner, continuing the pregnancy could lead to complications affecting mortality and detrimental to her overall health. The report also stated that her condition, at the current age of the pregnancy being 25 weeks, was conducive to terminate the pregnancy. Going ahead with the pregnancy, would also subject the petitioner to mental stress of going through child birth.
The Court considered the age of the petitioner along with the high probability of going through mental trauma and physical anguish, if she was denied permission to terminate the pregnancy. Continuing the pregnancy would then lead to maternal mortality, and violate her right to live a life with dignity under Article 21 enshrined in the Constitution.
Following the judgement of the Supreme Court in Murugan Nayakkar v. Union of India, the High Court granted the petitioner permission to terminate the pregnancy. The corporation which manages the Rajawadi Hospital suggested that the procedure be conducted at K.E.M Hospital and not Rajawadi Hospital, due to better facilities in case of any emergency, and the same was accepted by the Court. The Court also noted that time is essence in such a case and any further delay could be harmful to the petitioner, thus asking the Corporation to ensure that the petitioner is transferred to K.E.M Hospital at the earliest on 9th May 2018.
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