The family of a young rape victim in India asked a court Tuesday for permission to have her late-term unborn baby aborted.
The Times of India reports the 15-year-old girl was raped and became pregnant earlier this year near the family’s home in Chandigarh, India. She is approximately 24 weeks pregnant, about the point when her unborn baby is viable outside the womb, according to the report.
Abortions are illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in India. However, women or their families increasingly have been petitioning the high court for permission to abort their unborn babies after the limit, especially in cases involving fetal abnormalities or sexual assault.
At 20 weeks, an unborn baby is almost fully formed and close to the point of viability (about 22-23 weeks). Later-term abortions also are risky and can be deadly for the mother.
Police said they arrested a young man, also a minor, last week for allegedly raping the teen. According to police, the young man raped her repeatedly for several months.
Here’s more from the report:
According to [the victim’s] parents, the boy had been staying in the same locality as the rape survivor till a few years back. Later, the boy’s family moved somewhere else. The boy’s mother had died. When his father would go to work, he would take the girl to his house and rape her. …
Earlier, the girl’s mother had got suspicious while noticing that her menstrual cycle had stopped. When asked, the girl told her about the pregnancy and how she was raped by the accused. She took the survivor to a hospital and informed the police.
The family filed a request for a late-term abortion exception Tuesday in the Chandigarh district court.
Increasingly, Indian courts have been granting late-term abortion exceptions to young women who are victims of rape or whose unborn babies have disabilities. In cases of fetal anomalies, the courts seem to base their decisions on the unborn child’s likelihood of dying soon after birth and significant risks to the mother’s health.
In the past, the courts have refused several cases where the babies had treatable conditions, such as Down syndrome. In January, a Bombay court rejected a woman’s request for an abortion at 31 weeks because doctors said it was too risky.
However, in 2017, the Supreme Court of India gave another women permission to abort her unborn child at 24 weeks of pregnancy.