India's top court on Wednesday (6 September) ruled in favour of a pregnant rape survivor aged 13, allowing her to medically abort her 31-week-old foetus. The procedure is expected to be performed on Friday in accordance with court instructions.
The teenage girl was allegedly impregnated by her father's business partner, who was living with the family in Mumbai, the financial hub of India. He was accused of raping the girl multiple times about six months ago.
The parents of the rape survivor had filed the petition for medical termination of pregnancy with the Supreme Court after becoming aware of their daughter's condition in early August.
The girl was already 27 weeks pregnant then and further delay was caused because of lack of medical documents, gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Datar told The Indian Express.
He said that the girl first underwent sonography on 9 August and was found to be 27 weeks pregnant. The parents then took her to a shelter home from where she was released on 13 August.
"Precious time was wasted because first she was admitted to a shelter home and the mother had no time to file medical documents. Later, holidays delayed the process further," Datar said.
The court delivered its verdict based on a medical report filed by a board of doctors from J J hospital Mumbai. The court had tasked the medical board with studying the girl's case to seek if termination of the pregnancy would pose any threat to the girl's health, the Press Trust of India reported.
Laws in the country do not allow termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks. In a recent case, the Supreme Court denied permission to another rape survivor, aged 10, to abort her 26-week-old foetus considering her age and health.
The girl from Chandigarh city in northern India later delivered a baby girl prematurely at 35 weeks via Caesarean section.