India’s top court on Wednesday allowed a 13-year-old rape survivor to have a late abortion after lawyers said carrying the baby to full term would cause her trauma and agony.
The girl is 32 weeks pregnant, well beyond India’s 20-week legal limit after which terminations are only allowed where there is a danger to the life of the mother or the baby.
In his submission before the court Wednesday, the state counsel said the girl would “undergo trauma and agony” if she was not allowed to terminate her pregnancy.
Local media reports say one of her father’s colleagues has been arrested on charges of raping her.
Nikhil Datar, a Mumbai-based doctor, said the teenager was already 27-weeks pregnant when he saw her.
The parents immediately approached the Supreme Court and also lodged a police complaint, he said.
“It has been emotionally draining for the girl’s parents as their child is pregnant and they are unable to cope up with this fact,” the child’s lawyer Sneha Mukherjee told AFP ahead of the verdict.
The case comes on the heels of another plea by a 10-year-old rape victim for abortion which was rejected by the court after doctors said it would pose a threat to her life.
In recent months courts have received a number of petitions from women — including young rape survivors and trafficking victims — seeking abortions where pregnancies had gone beyond 20 weeks.
Activists say the restriction should be extended to 24 weeks as victims of rape are often late to report their pregnancies.
India has a gruesome record of sexual assaults on minors, with 20,000 cases reported in 2015, according to government data.