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Traumatised 13-Year-Old Rape Survivor Pregnant 31-Weeks To Undergo Abortion Today

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| September 8 , 2017 , 08:57 IST

A 13-year-old rape survivor currently 31 weeks pregnant is expected to undergo a surgical operation for abortion on Friday after a Supreme Court bench of 3 judges led by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra on Wednesday allowed the procedure.

Although abortion is legal in India, according to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortion cannot be granted if the pregnancy has crossed 20 weeks. After filing a complaint of rape at Mumbai's Charkop Police Station, the girl had moved the apex court to grant an abortion for the late-stage pregnancy.

"It will take a lot of time for her to recover from the trauma but this comes as a big relief. Expecting a 13-year-old girl to bear a child is just unimaginable," said Advocate Sneha Mukherjee.

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"How can a 13-year-old become a mother?" observed Chief Justice Deepak Misra before passing the order.

The girl is said to be traumatised by all those who have interacted with her and has not been able to go to school. Doctors say that the baby will likely be born premature and will be kept under observation and the decision to take the newborn home or give it up for adoption will be up to the family.

Mumbai's JJ Hospital will be handling the surgery, but doctors are also concerned about psychological support for the girl as the experience of pregnancy at such a tender age will impact the girl in ways other than physical.

"She is very minor and therefore she requires termination of pregnancy as decided by her. If the baby can be delayed a little longer, the baby would be approximately 2 kg and with the 2 kg the baby would have a better prognosis," said Dr Ashok Anand, Head of Dept, Gynecology, JJ Hospital.

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Recently in a similar case that gained national attention, a 10-year-old rape survivor from Chandigarh was denied permission from the Supreme Court for abortion at 28 weeks of pregnancy, despite her doctors advising the court to carry out the abortion. As a result, activists have renewed demands for a change in the law to allow abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Mumbai based gynaecologist Dr. Nikhil Datar who helps patients with pleas for an abortion, said that terminations are now becoming safer with the help of technology.

"There are higher chances of the mother developing complications as the term goes on so doing a delivery or a c-section is definitely a lower risk for her," he added.

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