Minor Rape Victim Allowed To Medically Terminate Pregnancy After 26 Weeks; Know What Delhi HC Said
New Delhi: In a pathbreaking judgement, the Delhi High Court has allowed a minor rape victim to undergo medical termination of pregnancy after 26 weeks, saying her misery and suffering would stand compounded if she was forced to bear the mantle of motherhood at a tender age. Justice Yashwant Varma observed that forcing the petitioner to go through the pregnancy would permanently scar her psyche and cause grave and irreparable injury to her mental health.
“The court cannot visualize a more egregious invasion of her right to life and the mental and physical trauma that she would have to undergo if forced to take on the onerous duties of motherhood is unimaginable,” the judge said, News18 reported. The court allowed the petitioner’s plea seeking medical termination of pregnancy and directed the concerned hospital to preserve the terminal foetus for the purposes of DNA testing which would be required in the criminal case related to the incident.
The medical board, in its report dated July 16, said that the age of the petitioner was about 13 years and the period of gestation was 25 weeks and 6 days and opined that in case of termination of pregnancy beyond 24 weeks, the law sanctions termination only in case of substantial foetal abnormalities. The court said that the mental anguish and injury to mental health that may be faced by a pregnant woman in case of rape is statutorily ordained to be presumed when she is seeking termination and although the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act deals with pregnancies that may extend up to 24 weeks, it can, in exceptional situations, invoke its extraordinary powers conferred by the Constitution to sanction termination of pregnancy.