Kerala

Kerala HC allows MTP for seven minors in six months

The Kerala High Court building. File   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

Seven minor girls, the youngest one aged 13 years, who became pregnant after being raped were allowed to terminate their pregnancies during the past six months.

The girls are considered to be victims of different sexual assaults that took place during the lockdown period.

The Kerala High Court cleared the petitions filed by the mothers of the victims as judicial permission was required for initiating Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) in cases of advanced stages of pregnancy.

Two victims, aged 14 and 16, were into their 23rd week of pregnancy, while the 13-year-old was 21 weeks pregnant, when their cases came up before the courts. The judges issued the orders for MTP on the same day the petitions came up before them, considering the physical and emotional crisis faced by the minor girls.

While Justice P.V. Asha issued orders in five cases, Justice P.B. Suresh Kumar and Justice P. Gopinath passed one order each.

It was after obtaining the views of medical boards on possible risks involved in the continuation of the pregnancy that the courts issued the orders. Questions on susceptibility of the newborn to physical and mental abnormalities, possible risks to the girls during the termination of pregnancy and the best methods for ending the pregnancy were raised. The psychiatric assessment of the victims on the pregnancy was also carried out.

All victims were shocked to learn about their pregnancy and expressed anguish over their future. Unable to contain the stress, some broke down. All of them wanted to terminate the pregnancy and resume their studies, revealed the court documents accessed by The Hindu.

Legal support

The lawyers engaged by the Kerala State Legal Services Authority extended free legal support to the victims and stood by them during their hour of crisis, said Nizar Ahamed, secretary of the authority.

In one case, says A. Jubiya, a secretary of the District Legal Services Authority, the girl appeared for her Class X examination a few days after the MTP. The lawyer engaged by the district authority quickly completed the legal formalities during the lockdown period to support the victim, said Ms. Jubiya.

The court had also directed to collect and conserve the tissue of the foetuses for DNA analysis as criminal cases were pending.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 1:30:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hc-allows-mtp-for-seven-minors-in-six-months/article33626755.ece

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