New Delhi: A woman who was raped and became pregnant as a result got the green light from the Supreme Court on Monday to terminate her pregnancy. The court said that being pregnant outside marriage due to sexual assault can be harmful to the woman. The woman is 27 weeks pregnant, which is beyond the legal limit of 24 weeks for abortion under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.
The court, comprising Justice B. V. Nagaratna and Justice Ujjwal Bhuiyan, overturned the decision of the Gujarat High Court, which had denied the woman’s request for an abortion. The court relied on the medical report of the woman, which showed that continuing the pregnancy could endanger her physical and mental health. The court also observed that pregnancy within marriage is a happy occasion in Indian society, but pregnancy outside marriage, especially due to rape, can cause distress and trauma to the woman. The court said that such pregnancy is not a result of her free will or consent.
The court directed the woman to go to the hospital on Tuesday so that the abortion procedure can be initiated. The court also said that if the fetus survives the abortion, the hospital should take care of it and the state should arrange for its adoption as per the law.
The Supreme Court held a special hearing on Saturday and expressed its dissatisfaction with the Gujarat High Court for not allowing the woman’s plea. The court said that valuable time was lost during the hearing of the case.