The Supreme Court of India is to hear the plea of a 10-year-old girl, who is six months pregnant after allegedly being raped by her uncle, to abort her preganancy.
The court has ordered a board of doctors to examine and recommend whether or not the minor can safely abort her 26-week pregnancy as Indian laws do not permit the termination of pregnancies beyond 20 weeks unless the foetus is genetically unviable or if the mother's life is at risk.
The girl became pregnant after her uncle allegedly raped her over the course of several months. Her family remained unaware of her ordeal and only discovered she was pregnant when the girl complained of a stomach ache.
The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research situated in the north Indian city of Chandigarh will examine the girl on Wednesday (26 July) and advise the apex court on the risks if any of carrying the baby to term.
On Friday, the top court is set to hear whether the minor can be allowed to undergo an abortion, the New Indian Express reported.
The development came a week after a district court refused to allow the child to abort after her parent's petitioned the court to allow the procedure.
The child's lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava had earlier said the girl's doctors thought her body was not developed enough to carry a baby and "tolerating a full-term pregnancy at this tender age is very risky".
India introduced its tough law on abortion in 1971 to prevent illegal and unsafe abortions and curb maternal mortality. Even today, the country uses it as a weapon to fight gender-based abortions.
In May, another 10-year-old from northern India, who was allegedly raped repeatedly by her stepfather, was allowed an abortion. The girl was about five months pregnant. In 2015, the court had allowed a 14-year-old rape survivor to terminate her 25-week pregnancy.