A court in India has ordered a 10-year-old girl whose parents say she was raped and impregnated by her uncle to carry her baby to term, ruling she is too young and her pregnancy too advanced to have an abortion.
The girl, who has not been identified, is six months pregnant and sought medical attention after her maternal uncle allegedly raped her several times, CBS News reported.
The district court in the northern city of Chandigarh based its decision on an opinion by a panel of doctors from the city’s Government Medical College and Hospital, where the girl was examined, according to the hospital’s medical superintendent.
“If you abort then the risk to life is greater,” the superintendent told The Washington Post in a brief phone interview on Wednesday.
A 1970s law in India known as the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act bars abortions beyond 20 weeks, though courts have made exceptions if the foetus is not viable or if the mother’s life is at risk.
According to CBS, the hospital’s eight-member panel determined that the fetus was viable and could survive even if it was delivered immediately. CBS quoted an unnamed senior doctor on the panel who said abortion was “not an option at this stage”.
The hospital told the Times of India on Tuesday: “The victim is six months pregnant, as revealed by her ultrasound reports. We have submitted our medical advice to the court regarding termination of the foetus.”
The girl’s parents found out their daughter was pregnant after she complained stomach pains, according to the Indian Express. She later reportedly told her mother that her uncle had raped her half-a-dozen times when he visited the family home. The uncle was arrested and the parents petitioned the court for an abortion, the Indian Expressreported.