HC permits minor’s pregnancy termination plea

The girl was impregnated by a relative

October 07, 2021 10:57 pm | Updated 10:57 pm IST - HYDERABAD

A woman has right to make a choice to carry pregnancy. She also has a right not to carry pregnancy albeit subject to conditions and restrictions under Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act-1971.

Making this observation, Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy of Telangana High Court passed an order permitting a 16-year-old to get her pregnancy terminated. The minor was impregnated by a member of her extended family.

The accused emotionally abused and sexually exploited the minor. With the accused warning of dire consequences, the hapless minor did not reveal the sexual assault to her parents. He even threatened to kill her mother. The latter eventually approached the police who arrested him.

Doctors of a private hospital who checked the minor said the gestational age of the foetus was 25 weeks based on foetal biometry. The minor and her parents approached a government hospital in Hyderabad for termination of the pregnancy as the minor was not in a position to bear the child physically, mentally and financially.

The hospital authorities, however, rejected their request as termination of pregnancy beyond 24 weeks was not permissible by the Act. The minor, through her mother, knocked the doors of the HC by filing a writ petition seeking a direction to the hospital to terminate her pregnancy.

A medical board, which examined the minor following the court instructions, said the minor was fit for termination of pregnancy. It noted that, however, she may have complications endangering her life if pregnancy was terminated.

The judge observed that the courts were empowered to direct termination of pregnancy though the MTP Act prohibits it if foetus gestation period was more than 24 weeks. “If the petitioner was compelled to continue with pregnancy caused by rape, it would infringe her right to life guaranteed by the Constitution,” the judge said in his order.

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