KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday permitted medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) to a 10-year-old rape victim, who is around 31 weeks pregnant. Directing that the procedure should be conducted within a week, the court entrusted the SAT Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, with full responsibility to ensure that the neonate, if born alive, is offered the best treatment available in the circumstances so that it develops into a healthy child.
If the parents of the newborn are not willing to or not in a position to assume its responsibility, the state government will have to take full responsibility of the baby and offer it all medical support and facilities as may be reasonably feasible, the court said. Allowing the petition filed by the mother of the girl seeking permission for her daughter to undergo medical termination of her pregnancy, Justice P V Kunhikrishnan observed, “It is an unfortunate case in which a 10-year-old rape victim is pregnant and the medical board says that there is an 80 per cent chance of the newborn surviving. The alleged culprit is her own father. If the allegation is correct, I am ashamed of and, of course, the entire society should bow the head (sic). I am sure that the long arm of our law will punish the perpetrator.”
The court said since the would-be mother is only 10, there are chances of medical complications to her. “Considering the entire facts and circumstances of the case, according to me, this is a case in which this court should invoke the jurisdiction keeping in mind the Almighty.” The law permits termination of pregnancy only upto 24 weeks. However, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act provides for exceptional circumstances that allow the termination of pregnancy of a minor girl.
The medical report stated that the baby is in breech position. Hence, delivery through an operation is needed with the associated anaesthesia and risks. At 30 weeks and six days, with an expected weight of 1.557kg, there is an 80 per cent chance of the baby surviving. It was also stated in the report that there is a risk of neonatal morbidities and need for NICU care and also adverse neuro-developmental outcome for the newborn baby.