NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the plea of a 10-year-old rape survivor to allow her to undergo an abortion. The girl is 32-weeks pregnant. The plea was filed in the district court of Chandigarh when the girl was in her 26th week of pregnancy and was rejected on July 18.
The order by Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud came after the court-appointed medical board of PGI Chandigarh said in its report that abortion was not in the interest of the abused child or the foetus.
The girl, the report added, was being given “best-possible” medical care at a government hospital.
The girl, whose father is a government staff and mother a domestic help, was allegedly raped by her maternal uncle. The accused was arrested on July 14. Meanwhile in another case, the apex court allowed a Mumbai-based woman to abort her 24-week-old foetus as it had neurological disorders.
At present, the law does not allow abortion after 20th week of pregnancy except in rare cases when the mother’s life is in danger.
Though time and again the apex court has ruled that welfare of an expecting mother is paramount, trials courts and High Courts have repeatedly turned down abortion plea of rape victims and women having abnormal foetus citing the present law.
With this in mind, the court has asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to consider having permanent medical boards in all States to examine such cases and to take a prompt decision.
Experts say time is ripe for government to amend the 45-year-old Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act to keep pace with health technology. China, for instance, allows abortion till 28 weeks.
In 2008, the government prepared a report favouring increasing the time limit of legal abortion to 24 weeks. But the report was never made public. In 2014 too, the Centre proposed amendments to the MTPA for increasing the 20-week deadline but Parliament is yet to examine and ratify it.