KOCHI: Terming it a difficult and disheartening situation, the Kerala High Court has allowed a 14-year-old rape survivor to terminate her 24-week pregnancy.
A Division Bench comprising Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Shaji P Chaly issued the order on the petition filed by her parents seeking permission to terminate the pregnancy.
The court constituted a medical board and it was reported that the continuation of pregnancy at 14 years would definitely involve a risk to her life as there was an increased risk of all obstetric complications including gestational hypertension, anaemia, risk of operative delivery and obstetric haemorrhage. It also affects mental health adversely.
The psychiatrist, who examined the victim, reported that continuing the pregnancy would involve risk of mental health issues in the patient. The patient also does not appear to have the maturity required from that of a mother-to-be. She informed the medical board that she was also willing to get terminated at the earliest.
The Bench noted that there were substantial risks to the life of the victim as well as to her mental health if she is allowed to continue with her pregnancy at the young age of 14 years. As far as her baby is concerned, the medical opinion is that there is a substantial risk of physical and mental abnormalities as it is teenage pregnancy. Equally, if the baby survives the termination of pregnancy at this stage, then there is a substantial risk of physical and mental abnormalities as to seriously handicap the baby, noted the court.
"A person's right to make a reproductive choice 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," observed the court.
The court further directed to the doctors to take the tissue of the foetus for DNA identification and to maintain it intact for future purposes, especially due to the fact that a criminal case is pending against the paramour in the instant case. She was missing for more than five months and later traced with a 28-year-old married man. The man was arrested and booked for offences under the IPC and POCSO Act.