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Supreme Court allows 14-year-old rape survivor to abort 30-week pregnancy

Following a plea by her mother challenging the Bombay High Court’s decision denying the termination of the pregnancy due to its advanced stage, the top court ordered the minor’s medical examination on April 19.

Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 New Delhi Updated on: April 22, 2024 11:39 IST
Supreme Court
Image Source : PTI/FILE PHOTO Supreme Court to consider a minor's plea for pregnancy termination today.

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has overturned an order by the Bombay High Court, allowing a 14-year-old rape survivor to terminate her 30-week pregnancy. The ruling, considered exceptional by the court, was made in light of a hospital report and Indian law requiring court permission for abortions beyond 24 weeks. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, leading the bench, emphasised the importance of medical advice in the decision-making process. While acknowledging the risks associated with late-stage abortions, the court relied on the opinion of the medical board, which deemed the threat to life no higher than the risk of full-term delivery.

Urgent hearing and medical examination

The urgency of the matter prompted the court to hold an immediate hearing last Friday and order a medical examination of the girl at a hospital in Maharashtra. The medical board at Sion hospital provided a report favoring the abortion, leading the court to invoke Article 142 of the Constitution to ensure justice in the case.

Legal framework and abortion laws

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 2021, abortions are permitted up to 20 weeks with the opinion of a registered medical practitioner. In certain cases, termination is allowed up to 24 weeks. However, for pregnancies beyond this limit, court intervention is required, as demonstrated in this case.

 

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