The Kerala High court on Saturday allowed a 14-year-old rape survivor to abort her 24-week pregnancy, keeping in mind the survivor’s reproductive rights.
Justices AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P Chaly after going through the relevant legal provisions, the findings of a medical board and the opinion of a medical expert via video conference allowed the plea. “We are of the view that Y’s (the survivor’s) right to make reproductive choices is also a facet of her personal liberty as understood under Article 21 of our Constitution. The said choice would extend to deciding whether or not to carry her pregnancy to its full term,” the bench stated.
In March this year, the Lok Sabha passed a bill to extend the upper limit for permitting abortion from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks for special categories of women which includes rape survivors, victim of incest, differently abled and minors.
The Centre further said that the proposed law is aimed at discouraging informal termination of pregnancies and reducing the maternal mortality rate.
The Kerala High Court judges in their order added that although the said right is subject to “the restrictions imposed under the MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) Act, we can find that the report of a Medical Board justifies Y’s decision and that she also has her parents consent to do the same.”
After a sessions court rejected the plea due to the fact that the survivor’s pregnancy had exceeded the permissible 20 weeks period as per the MTP act, the survivor’s father moved the high court.
-India Legal Bureau