Kerala High Court allows abortion of 24-week pregnancy for 14-year-old rape survivor

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Observing that the right to make reproductive choices is a facet of personal liberty, the Kerala HC has allowed the termination of 24-week pregnancy of a 14 year old rape survivor.

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The high court passed the order in a petition filed by the father of the minor girl.

The Kerala High Court has allowed the termination of 24-week pregnancy of a minor rape survivor in the state.

The division bench comprising Justices AK Jayashankaran Nambiar and Shaji P Chaly passed an order on April 4 based on the recommendations of medical board which said that the continuation of the pregnancy would pose risk to the mental and physical health of the 14-year-old rape survivor.

Noting the ‘difficult and disheartening situation’, the bench also observed that the “right to make reproductive choices is a facet of personal liberty under Article 21”.

The bench in its judgment said: “There are substantial risks to the life of the girl as well as to her mental health, if she is allowed to continue with her pregnancy at the young age of 14 years.”

“…we are of the view that the Y’’s right to make reproductive choices is also a facet of her personal liberty as understood under Article 21 of our Constitution. The said choice would extend to deciding whether or not to carry her pregnancy to its full term. Although the said right is subject to the restrictions imposed under the MTP Act, in the instant case, we find that the report of the Medical Board justifies Y’’s decision and besides, she also has the consent of her parents to terminate her pregnancy,” the judgment read.

The petition was moved by the girl’s father as the pregnancy had advanced the length of 20 weeks — – the permissible time duration for a legal abortion.

The 14-year-old had gone missing from her home nearly five months ago and was later traced with a 28-year-old man in Mangalore. The accused was then arrested for rape and charged under sections of the IPC and POCSO.

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