Teenage Pregnancy and Abortion Rates Decline, New Study Reports
[Representational Image]Flickr/Creative Commons

A 13-year-old girl from the western suburbs of Mumbai was found to be six and a half months pregnant when her parents took her to a local doctor to ascertain why she was becoming "obese".

The girl is believed to have clammed up after finding out about her pregnancy and has not told the police anything about a possible sexual assault, the Times of India reported. Her parents, who thought she was putting on weight due to a thyroid disorder, took her to a local doctor for a check up.

The doctor advised an ultrasound scan in which it was revealed that she was 27 weeks pregnant and, therefore, beyond the 20-week limit set by the government to abort the child under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.

The girl's family on Wednesday approached gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Datar, who has helped women wanting late-term abortions to approach the Supreme Court. Datar, who has helped nine women fight the abortion time-limit, then informed the Dindoshi police about the pregnancy as any case of minor pregnancy is first presumed to be a case of assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

The Charkop police later filed a complaint of sexual assault against an unknown person under the POSCO Act and the Indian Penal Code. 

"The girl, studying in the sixth or seventh standard, was clueless that she was carrying a baby. Her mother asked if she can undergo an abortion. Since she can't as per the law, we plan to approach the Supreme Court on Monday," Datar was quoted by TOI as saying. 

[Representational Image]Meagan/Flickr

Adding that the girl is in shock, a senior police officer told the daily: "She has not told us who is responsible for the sexual assault or where it occurred. The incident occurred at least seven months ago."

"Our officers went to the hospital to meet the girl. Her mother is the complainant in the FIR and we have recorded her statement," the officer further added. The girl has been sent to JJ Hospital for a detailed examination.

The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) will be involved as she is a minor. "After the girl gives a statement to the CWC, they will inform us. The accused will be arrested once he is identified," the officer said.

"At 27 weeks, the baby is quite big. It poses an additional challenge for the girl who has to undergo a miniature labour almost, making her prone to several complications," Dr Arun Nayak, associate professor of gynaecology at Sion Hospital said. The hospital conducts the largest number of child deliveries in Mumbai.

Doctors in Mumbai usually deal with an average of over 200 abortions annually where the girl's age is less than 15 years. However, most visit the hospital within 20 weeks. 

"A good news is that over the years, the incidence of teenage pregnancy has declined. We seldom see cases now where the girl has waited for months after missing her monthly cycle," Nayak told the daily.