Kerala HC permits termination of pregnancy of minor


The Kerala High Court on Thursday allowed the medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) of a young rape survivor, whose pregnancy had crossed the legally permissible period for the procedure.

Justice P.V. Asha permitted the procedure on a petition by the mother of a 16-year-old girl whose pregnancy has crossed 28 weeks, the oldest one to be cleared by the Kerala High Court, legal sources pointed out.

The accused in the case is also a minor and has been sent to a care home for children in conflict with law. The police have booked a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

A medical board reported that the foetus faced high risk of poor neurological development and the mental and physical development of the foetus was likely to be “very bad.” The panel suggested termination of pregnancy considering the possible adverse psychological impact on the girl and the anomalies of the foetus. The board noted that there was the possibility of the child being born alive. However, the survivor and her guardian were not willing for resuscitation, it was reported.

The Hindu had earlier reported that the court had permitted medical termination of pregnancy for seven girls in six months.

The Kerala State Legal Services Authority, which took forward the petition, will offer legal support to the girl besides taking the efforts to secure her compensation under the victim compensation scheme, said K.T. Nizar Ahamed, secretary of the Authority. Compensation would be granted based on the recommendation of the POCSO court, he said.

Normally, termination of pregnancy is permitted under MTP Act 1971, when the gestation period exceeds 12 weeks but does not cross 20 weeks. It is allowed when two registered medical practitioners feel that the continuance of the pregnancy could pose a risk to the life of the mother or cause grave physical or mental injury to her. If the child to be born faces substantial risk, including physical or mental abnormalities too, termination is allowed.

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