The Bombay high court has refused to grant permission to a 15-year-old rape survivor to abort her 28-week pregnancy as doctors opined that even if the baby was forcibly delivered at this stage, it would be born alive, and possibly with a deformity due to premature birth.
A division bench of Justices R V Ghuge and Y G Khobragade, sitting at the Aurangabad bench of HC, on June 20, said if a child is going to be born even with forcible delivery, then they might as well let the baby be born full-term keeping its future in mind.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by the rape victim's mother seeking permission to abort the girl's 28-week pregnancy.
According to the petition, the girl went missing in February this year. Three months later, the police found her with a man in Rajasthan. A case was lodged against the man under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
A medical board after examining the girl said even if the pregnancy termination proceedings are done, the baby would be born alive and would have to be admitted in a neonatal care unit and the girl would also be at risk.
The HC bench noted a child would be born whether by forcible medical intervention or by natural delivery. If a forcible delivery is to be done, then an underdeveloped child would be born and there would be chances of certain deformities being developed, it said.
"If in any case the child is going to be born and the natural delivery is just 12 weeks away, we are of the view that the health of the child and its physical and mental development need to be considered," the high court said.
The disadvantage of permitting forcible delivery of the child today is that the child who would have naturally developed into a well grown baby will have to be brought into this world at a premature stage and that too forcibly, the bench added.
If the baby is well developed and delivered naturally as a full term baby, there would be no deformity and the chances of adoption would brighten, the HC said.
The high court said that the girl could be kept either at a shelter home in Nashik which takes care of pregnant women or the government's shelter home for women in Aurangabad. After the baby is delivered, the girl will be at liberty to take a decision on whether to keep the baby or give the child up for adoption, it added.