The Kerala High Court allowed a minor rape victim to terminate her pregnancy after 26 weeks at her own risk. The Court also cited that it could not infringe upon the freedom of the woman's decision to bear the child. The Court noted the circumstances leading to the pregnancy and the minor's age and said that continuing to bear the child would involve grave injury to her mental and physical health.
According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which allows termination of pregnancy for rape victims, Bench said that such cases tend to hamper the woman's mental health.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act was passed in March and had raised the ceiling for abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. However, the Act also mandates the approval of two registered doctors for the procedure to be carried out.
In this case, the girl and her family had moved to the High Court seeking an abortion because the Kozhikode Medical College had denied it because the foetus had reached an advanced stage. The Court allowed for the procedure to be carried out after a medical board allowed abortion after looking at the circumstances of the case.
'Protect The Child At All Costs If Born Alive': HC
However, the medical board had mentioned in its report that the expecting victim might need multiple inductions to abort the foetus. In case the induction procedure fails, the doctors would have to abort the foetus surgically. The mother is induced with labour pains in the second or the third trimester in the induction process.
The Court had also instructed the hospital authorities to preserve the blood and tissue samples of the foetus to conduct further medical tests.
"In case the child is born alive, the hospital authorities shall ensure that all necessary steps are taken for protecting the life of the child," the High Court Bench added.