Indian court allows minor rape survivor from Nepal to abort 27-week pregnancy
The Delhi High Court on Friday (April 28) allowed a minor Nepalese girl who had been the victim of gang rape to have her pregnancy medically terminated at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital since it had lasted longer than the legal limit of 24 weeks.
“Accordingly in view of the fact that the child is a rape victim and taking a humanitarian view of the matter though the child and her family are Nepalese citizens, this court directs that the medical termination of pregnancy be effected as soon as possible by the doctors of the LNJP hospital,” said a single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh after interacting with the medical board at the hospital and the mother of the victim, as reported by The Indian Express.
The High Court (HC) further ordered the LNJP hospital's medical staff to make sure the girl receives the best treatment possible as well as post-operative care so she can recuperate and only then be discharged.
According to the HC, the current order is being issued given the specific facts and circumstances of the case.
“The family has assured that in case the foetus is born alive considering the age of the foetus, the family would give adequate care in the nursery of LNJP,” the court recorded.
Anuj Kapoor, an attorney representing the survivor's mother, stated that if a situation like that occurred, "we will revive the writ petition and will seek appropriate directions." The judge, however, stated that while they have permission to file the application, they must care for the infant in the interim period.
The medical board's opinion is that a pregnancy can be terminated, but there are some risks due to the girl's low haemoglobin and the baby's gestational age of 27 weeks. This information was provided to the court by two doctors from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Neonatology, LNJP, who had joined the hearing virtually.
The mother received counselling about the risks from both doctors, who testified before the court. They are aware of the risks involved, Kapoor further stated.
The petitioner's claim was that in October 2022, a brutal case of gang rape occurred on her daughter in Nepal. According to information provided to the court, the petitioner and her entire family are citizens of Nepal, and the girl's parents both had jobs in India.
The girl moved in with her parents in India in March of this year, according to Kapoor's earlier argument, which claimed that's when she discovered she was pregnant.
According to information previously provided to the court, she was already 25 weeks pregnant when she approached the relevant authority or the doctors to request an abortion. The mother then went to the HC to ask for permission to end her daughter's pregnancy because it had lasted longer than the legal limit of 24 weeks. On April 21, the HC gave LNJP the go-ahead to form a medical board that would examine the minor girl and provide an opinion.