Delhi HC permits rape victim to medically terminate pregnancy in 26th week

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has allowed a minor rape victim, to terminate her 25th week and six days old pregnancy.
A bench of Justice Yashwant Varma noted in the assault on the petitioner, the minor rape victim, the defilement of her body would have undoubtedly left scars that would take years to heal.
“Her misery and suffering would stand compounded even more if she were forced to bear the mantle of motherhood at such a tender age. The court shudders to even imagine the state of despondency that would descend over her life. The mental and physical trauma that she would have to undergo if she were forced to carry the foetus and take on the onerous duties of motherhood is unimaginable,” the court said in an order passed on Tuesday.
“This court is of the firm opinion that if the petitioner was forced to go through with the pregnancy despite the same having been caused on account of the incident of sexual assault, it would permanently scar her psyche and cause grave and irreparable injury to her mental health. The court cannot visualise a more egregious invasion of her right to life as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution,” it stated.
It also directed the hospital concerned to preserve the terminal foetus for the purposes of DNA testing which would be required with reference to the criminal case which stands registered.
“The respondent hospital is consequently directed to constitute a Medical Board which may attend to the petitioner and oversee the termination of pregnancy. For the aforesaid purpose, let the petitioner appear before the Board which was constituted by the respondent hospital along with her legal guardian or any other member of her family on July 21 so that appropriate steps may be taken in accordance with law. The court further provides that if during the procedure for termination the Board and the attending doctors find that there arises a risk to the life of the petitioner, they would have the discretion to cancel the procedure for termination of pregnancy,” read the order.

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