Doctors Say ‘Yes’ to Abortion for 10-year-old Raped by Stepfather

A team of doctors at Rohtak's Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Science has already okayed a termination of pregnancy in her case.
Highlights
  • 10-year-old girl was allegedly raped by her stepfather in Rohtak
  • The child is five months pregnant
  • Rohtak court has left the pregnancy termination decision on the doctors

Rohtak, Haryana: The 10-year-old girl from Haryana left pregnant after she was repeatedly raped by her stepfather should be allowed to have an abortion, the doctors decided after a court in Rohtak asked them to take a call. The child is 20 weeks or five months pregnant, say doctors at a hospital in Rohtak, less than 70 km away from national capital Delhi.

A team of doctors at Rohtak’s Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Science had already okayed a termination of pregnancy, which will have to conducted soon, hospital sources told NDTV. Today, the Medical Superintendent of the hospital gave a formal go-ahead for the abortion. The date is still to be decided.

The child, the third of four children, was often left at home while her mother went out to work as a domestic help and has told the police that she was raped repeatedly by her stepfather, who is also her uncle. The 21-year-old man has been arrested.

Her pregnancy came to light only last week, by which time she had crossed the 20-week legal limit after which terminations are only allowed where there is a danger to the life of the mother or the baby. After her daughter confided in her, the child’s mother called a women’s helpline last week to register a complaint and then moved court to seek permission for an abortion.

The girl, whose family is from Bihar, is being given counselling and medical care at a government hospital in Rohtak, which is also reeling from the horrific discovery this week of the body of a 23-year-old woman who was gangraped and brutally violated, before her head was smashed with a brick to prevent stop identification and the body was run over by a vehicle.

In recent months, courts have received a number of petitions from women, including rape survivors and trafficking victims, seeking abortions where pregnancies have gone beyond 20 weeks. In 2015, the Supreme Court allowed a 14-year-old rape survivor to abort a foetus after the 20-week limit.

Activists say the restriction should be extended to 24 weeks as victims of rape are often late to report their pregnancies.

Nearly 40,000 rape cases are reported every year in the country, but the real number is thought to be much higher, with victims wary of how their complaints will be dealt with or the social stigma attached to sex crimes.

Delhi alone registered 2,199 rape cases in 2015 — an average of six a day.

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