SC orders urgent medical test of child rape victim

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The Supreme Court on Monday constituted a medical board to examine a woman, who has sought permission to terminate her 22-week-old pregnancy on the grounds that the foetus was suffering from a neurological problem.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachudn directed a panel of doctors at PGI Chandigarh to examine the girl and her foetus on July 26 to "affirm one way or the other" whether her health and that of the baby will be "adversely affected if the pregnancy is allowed to be full term". The long-awaited Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) (Amendment) Bill, which contemplates the extension of the legal limit for abortion from the present 20 weeks to 24, is pending since June 2014.

The Bench said the medical board would have to ascertain that if allowed to abort the foetus, what could be the possible risk to the minor's life.

Srivastava petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming that multiple doctors were of the opinion that the child's pelvic bones weren't developed enough to handle a full-term pregnancy, Hindustan Times reported.

Indian courts have considered many pleas from rape victims seeking permission to terminate pregnancies following abuse.

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The apex court has also asked the member secretary to make proper transportation arrangements for the rape survivor and one of her parents.

Last week came the heartbreaking news that an Indian district court ruled the 10-year-old was too young and too far into her pregnancy to have an abortion.

The girl, a resident of Chandigarh, was allegedly raped by her uncle over seven months. Her parents only recently found out their daughter was pregnant when the girl complained about stomach pains, the BBC reported. According to her mother, all she knows is that she is a bit unwell and needs to be home.The girl has been on special diet and undergoes regular check-ups. The panel also includes the heads of the departments of obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatric medicine, psychiatry, radiodiagnosis, and internal medicine, along with a professor each from the departments of cardiology and hospital administration.

The petition, filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, has also sought appropriate guidelines be framed by the top court to set up a permanent medical board in each district of India for expedient termination of pregnancies in exceptional cases involving child rape survivors under the best possible medical facilities.

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