28 July 2017

Indian court rejects abortion for 10-year-old rape victim

A protest in India against child sex abuseImage copyright

Image caption

Campaigners say that, in many cases in India, abusers are known to the children

India’s Supreme Court has refused to allow an abortion for a 10-year-old girl allegedly raped by her uncle on the grounds that she is too far into her pregnancy.

A doctors’ panel told the court that, at 32 weeks, termination of the pregnancy would be “too risky”.

Her pregnancy was discovered two weeks ago when she complained of stomach ache and her parents took her to hospital.

A lower court had earlier turned down her plea on similar grounds.

Indian law does not allow terminations after 20 weeks unless doctors confirm the mother’s life is in danger.

The tough law against abortion was introduced in 1971 to prevent illegal and unsafe abortions and curb maternal mortality.

The restrictions remain an important weapon in India’s fight against a skewed gender ratio which has resulted from a deep-seated cultural preference for sons.

Millions of female foetuses have been aborted over the years by pregnant women after undergoing foetal gender testing.

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