A 14-year-old rape victim has reportedly been denied the right to have an abortion after being raped by her doctor. According to the Huffington Post, the 14-year-old — whose name cannot be released for legal purposes — visited the doctor back in February to seek treatment for a thyroid condition. But, after receiving a sedative, the doctor allegedly raped the girl after “she fell unconscious,” the petition said.
Due to the horrific circumstances that led to her pregnancy, her family opted to seek provisions for an abortion. The petition was reportedly filed by her father and presented to Justice Abhilasha Kumari of the Gujarat High Court on Friday, July 24.
However, the judge denied the petition because late abortions are prohibited in India. According to the Indian Express, the 14-year-old is now more than five months pregnant, which would classify the termination of her pregnancy as a “late abortion.”
India’s abortion law reportedly states that terminations beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy are not permissible. Since she is reportedly 24 weeks pregnant, the law offers no provisions to terminate her pregnancy. Even in cases where rape has contributed to the pregnancy, no considerations or exemptions are made after 20 weeks. The teenager’s lawyer, Pradip Bhate, recently released a statement on behalf of the family, citing the disadvantages the pregnancy brings for the girl, but to no avail.
“The father of the victim is a laborer and does not have enough resources to take care of the child to be born… The parents are yet to decide if they want to approach higher forum,” Bhate said.
Regardless of the girl’s victimized state and her father’s plea, there is reportedly nothing that can be done. According to the Jakarta Post, Judge Kumari admitted that the decision was quite difficult to make because the girl had been raped, but argued that the innocent child should not be held accountable for the actions of another.
“Whatever be the circumstances in which the child was conceived, whatever the trauma of the young mother, the fact remains that the child is also not to blame for being conceived,” Judge Kumari reportedly said.
Since the family is not in a financial position to care for the baby, the judge has ordered government assistance from the local authority, and the family will receive compensation. The court’s decision has sparked quite a debate among readers. While some agree with the judge, arguing abortion is not the answer and that the family should consider adoption, others still insist the girl should have still been given the option of a late abortion considering the pregnancy was not a result of her own indiscretions. Although late abortion has become a debatable topic in the United States with the recent passing of the late-term abortion banning bill, many readers still feel exceptions should be made where rape contributed to the pregnancy.
Do you agree or disagree with the judge’s decision to deny the 14-year-old girl’s abortion petition? Share your thoughts.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]