A 10-year-old girl who is pregnant in India has been refused an abortion by the India’s Supreme Court on the ground that at 32 weeks, she is too far into her pregnancy.
A Doctors’ panel had advised the court that a termination at this stage would be too risky for the girl and that the foetus was doing well.
The Chandigarh State Legal Services Authority, Mahavir Singh, said there have been lots of cases of teenage pregnancies involving 14 to 15-year-olds, but this is the first case ever of a 10-year-old.
The 10-year-old girl was allegedly being repeatedly raped by a relative and the relative is now in jail, pending trial.
The girl in question, a class six student who loves to draw and is pretty good at it, has been described as a happy child who smiles easily, shy and not very talkative, with English and mathematics being her favourite subjects.
The court order was a huge disappointment for the girl’s family, even though Indian law does not allow terminations after 20 weeks unless Doctors certify that the mother’s life is in danger.
But in recent years, the courts have received several petitions, many of child rape survivors, seeking to terminate pregnancies after 20 weeks, since, in most cases, these pregnancies are discovered late because the children are not aware of their condition.
In the case of this 10-year-old too, the pregnancy was discovered around her 29th week in the pregnancy when she complained of pain in her lower abdomen and her mother took her to a doctor.
The child has still not been told about her pregnancy and, for those dealing with her, talking to her is like treading on eggshells, and she has been told that she has a big stone in her stomach and the bulge is because of that.
She’s been put on a special diet of eggs, milk, fruit, fish and chicken and she seems to be enjoying the extra attention.
But in recent days, police, social workers and counsellors have been in and out of her house, and a media circus has grown up outside her home.
The scale of abuse reports in India according to Unicef and India Government stated that child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes, a child under 10 every 13 hours’
The report added that more than 10 thousand children were raped in 2015 and 240 million women living in India were married before they turned 18.
53.22 per cent of children who participated in a Government study reported some form of sexual abuse, 50 per cent of abusers are known to the child or are persons in trust and care-givers.