10-year-old rape victim in India will be allowed to get an abortion

Source: Shutterstock.com

A 10-year-old rape victim in India who went to court in order to end her pregnancy will be allowed to get an abortion, the BBC reported Tuesday. 

According to the New York Times, the girl was repeatedly raped by her stepfather while her mother was at work. She became pregnant as a result, and by the time her mother tipped off authorities, the 10-year-old was at least 20 weeks pregnant. In India, that's the latest a woman can terminate a pregnancy, provided a doctor agrees to perform one. Exceptions may be made if the mother's life is in danger. 

A court in the northern state of Haryana called on doctors from the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences to determine whether are not the girl's are the kind of "exceptional circumstances" that would allow for an abortion at this stage in a pregnancy, the Times reported. While the panel found that the girl's life was not at risk, she was "traumatized," according to one of the doctors.

Protesters demanding justice for a woman who was raped and murdered in Mumbai in 2016.
Source: 
Rajanish Kakade/AP

"She is traumatized and not able to speak properly," Dr. S.K. Dhattarwal said, according to the Times. "She was not able to understand what was going on with her. She was subjected to sexual intercourse several times."

Another of the panel's members, Dr. Ashok Chauhan, told the BBC that while the girl was on the "borderline," they couldn't be sure just how far along the girl was, so abortion would be acceptable and performed "anytime now."

"She is around 20 weeks pregnant, but it could be 19 weeks or it could be 21 weeks," Chauhan said. "The technology is not so advanced that it can tell you exactly what week she's in."

In 2014, India's National Crime Records Bureau estimated that 93 women were raped daily. According to Newsweek, a rape occurred nearly every 15 minutes in 2015. While the 10-year-old's stepfather is under arrest, the case highlights the country's problem with violence against women, coinciding with two other incidents in Haryana state in which young women were brutally raped by multiple men — and, in one case, violently murdered; in the other, thrown out of a moving car. 

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Claire Lampen

Claire is a staff writer at Mic who covers women's issues and reproductive rights. She is based in New York and can be reached at claire@mic.com.

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