Karnataka HC directs extinction of pregnancy of rape survivor

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has allowed a rape victim underage girl's pregnancy to be terminated in a landmark decision. The court has also ordered the District Civil Hospital to guarantee that all 25-week pregnancies are aborted.

The rape victim went to court after doctors and the district hospital refused to abort the pregnancy since the law forbids terminating a pregnancy of more than 24 weeks. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 sets a 24-week limit. In her appeal, the girl argued that she cannot be compelled to bear the weight of a crime by giving birth to a child who was conceived against her consent.

The medical board's opinion was requested by a Dharwad High Court panel led by Justice N.S. Sanjay Gowda. Because the petitioner girl is 16 years old, the board stated that it would be a high-risk pregnancy case for both the girl and the baby. The board also stated that allowing pregnancy would negatively impact the girl's mental health.

The bench, after considering the opinion, ordered an abortion at the district hospital on Thursday. The girl has a sacred right to have her bodily integrity safeguarded, according to the decision. Forcing a woman to bear an undesired intrusion in her body would be a violation of the constitution's fundamental right to personal liberty. The bench went on to say that under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, a woman's right to exercise her reproductive choice is a dimension of personal liberty.

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