In a major decision, the Karnataka High Court has allowed the termination of pregnancy of a rape survivor minor girl. The court has also issued directions to the District Civil Hospital to ensure abortion of 25-week pregnancy.
The rape survivor had approached the court after the medical practitioners and district hospital refused to abort the pregnancy as the law does not allow termination of pregnancy of over 24-weeks. The 24-week ceiling is fixed by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971. The girl in her petition stated that she cannot be forced to carry the burden of a crime and deliver a baby conceived against her will.
The Dharwad High Court bench headed by Justice N.S. Sanjay Gowda had sought the opinion from the medical board. The board said it would be a high risk pregnancy case for both girl and baby as the petitioner girl is 16-year-old. The board also opined that, if pregnancy is allowed it would affect the mental health of the girl.
Considering the opinion, the bench ordered immediate abortion at the district hospital on Thursday. The bench underlined that, the girl has a sacrosanct right to have her bodily integrity protected. The act of forcing a woman to bear an unwanted intrusion in her body would violate the fundamental right of personal liberty guaranteed in the constitution.
The bench further underlined that the right of a woman to exercise her reproductive choice is a dimension of personal liberty under Article 21 of Constitution of India.
The bench also observed, the consequence of continuing the pregnancy would be severe and detrimental to a dignified life as contemplated under Article 21 of the constitution.
The minor girl was allegedly raped by a father-son duo on February 8, 2021. The Belagavi police are investigating the case.