India Allows Abortion For 10-year-old Rape Victim

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NEW DELHI, May 17 – A 10-year-old girl who was raped will be allowed to have an abortion even though she has crossed the 20-week limit for terminations in India, police in the country said Wednesday. The child has said she was repeatedly raped by her stepfather, who has since been arrested. Her case only came to light last week, by which time she had crossed the 20-week legal limit after which terminations are only allowed where there is a danger to the life of the mother or the baby.

“The court had asked the medical board to take a call and doctors have decided to go ahead with the abortion. The board has not said when they are planning it (abortion) but it will be any time soon,” Garima Devi, the police investigation officer assigned to the case, told AFP.

In recent months India’s top court has received a number of petitions from women – including 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.

The Indian Express said the victim’s mother wanted the accused to be set free as he had apologised and that she had other children to take care of. “The girl’s life is destroyed but what will happen to my other children? I need to think about their future too,” the daily quoted the mother as saying from a hospital in Rohtak, a district in northern Haryana state.

India has a gruesome record on rape, with the capital New Delhi alone registering 2,199 rape cases in 2015 – an average of six a day. A UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2014 expressed alarm over the widespread sexual abuse of children and said one in three rape victims in India was a minor. — AFP

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