Bombay HC Refuses Abortion At 28 Weeks For Minor Rape Victim

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“As the pregnancy is of advanced gestational age and has no fetal anomalies, medical termination of pregnancy is denied,” the court noted

In a recent ruling, the Bombay High Court dismissed a petition seeking abortion for a minor girl's 28-week pregnancy resulting from rape.

The court, presided over by Justice N.R. Borkar and Justice Prakash D. Naik, cited the advanced stage of the pregnancy, where termination would result in the birth of a live child, as grounds for its decision against allowing the termination.

The petitioner, the mother of the victim, had approached the High Court seeking directions under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, pleading for the termination of her daughter's pregnancy to safeguard the victim's life. The petitioner contended that “She (victim) has right to terminate her pregnancy. It is difficult for her to continue with the pregnancy which is causing mental agony to her.”

The plea also included requests for free medical facilities, counselling for the victim, and compensation under various schemes.

The victim, a minor child, had been subjected to sexual assault, leading to her pregnancy. The matter came to light when an FIR was lodged with the Turbhe MIDC Police Station on March 20, 2024, under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012.

The petition highlighted the victim's dire circumstances, stressing the mental anguish she endured due to the pregnancy. Despite arguments advocating for termination, the medical reports presented a significant hurdle. The Medical Board, comprising various departments including Radiology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medicine, and Anesthesia, concluded that the termination of pregnancy was not advisable.

The Medical Board's assessment revealed that the victim's pregnancy, at 28 weeks, presented a scenario where a live, viable preterm baby would result from termination, requiring neonatal intensive care. The Board's decision, based on the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, and subsequent amendments, emphasised the absence of substantial fetal abnormalities warranting termination after the 24-week threshold.

In light of the medical opinion and the advanced stage of the pregnancy, the court declined to grant the petitioner's request for termination, stating that, “The medical termination of pregnancy is at this advanced gestational age will bear the same risk and consequences as that of delivery of term.”

“As the pregnancy is of advanced gestational age and has no fetal anomalies, medical termination of pregnancy is denied,” the court noted.

Consequently, the court dismissed the writ petition while directing the state to provide all necessary medical facilities to the petitioner's daughter before and after delivery.

The court also directed the authorities concerned to provide the victim with the compensation at the earliest.


Cause Title: A, Mother of X v State of Maharashtra [WP (L) No. 11208 of 2024]