The Kerala High Court denied a petition requesting the termination of the pregnancy of a 12-year-old minor girl. The minor girl was allegedly in an incestual relationship with her minor brother. The court ruled out the option of abortion as the fetus reached 34 weeks of gestation. The fetus is fully developed and preparing for life outside the womb.
The parents pleaded that childbirth would have severe consequences for the girl's physical and mental well-being.
Initially, the Medical Board suggested terminating the 34-week pregnancy due to the young age and potential psychological trauma to the girl. However, after further interaction with the court, the Medical Board changed its opinion, stating that the minor girl was healthy enough to carry the child. The Review Medical Board established that continuing the pregnancy for an additional two weeks to reach full term was not likely to cause a severe psychological impact on the girl. The board also recommended a cesarean section, considering its lesser psychological impact.
According to Live Law, the court said, “The fetus has already reached 34 weeks of gestation and is now fully developed, preparing for its life outside the womb. Termination of pregnancy at this point is not tenable, if not impossible, and, therefore, the child will have to be allowed to be born.”
In the order of December 22, the court allowed the petitioners to seek continuous assistance from doctors at the nearby Government Medical College. Upon reaching 36 weeks of pregnancy, they can approach the Medical College Superintendent for expert evaluation, who will then decide on the nature of delivery.
Justice Devan Ramachandran directed the minor girl to be in the custody and care of the parents. The court has also directed authorities and parents to ensure that her minor brother, against whom allegations were leveled, was not allowed anywhere near the girl.
The court accentuated maintaining the petitioner’s identity hidden throughout the process and thereafter. The court further stipulated that the petitioners could seek assistance under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, after the completion of delivery.
Last year, in April 2023, the Calcutta High Court rejected a plea of medical termination of pregnancy for a 12-year-old minor girl who was allegedly a victim of rape and sexual assault. The court stated that termination of pregnancy involved a risk to the extent of maternal death.
(Input from various sources)