Court orders abortion for Bihar rape victim

An order has also been issued to provide free legal aid to the victim during the trial of her case

Patna: A court in Bihar has ordered hospital authorities to abort the 24-week-old foetus of a rape victim, to enable the girl to lead a dignified life.

The Patna High Court issued the order on late Wednesday night after the 17-year-old victim prayed to the court to allow her to terminate her “unwanted” pregnancy.

Acting on her appeal, Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh asked the All India Institute of Medical Science-Patna (AIIMS-P) director Dr P.K. Singh to conduct the medical procedure — taking all necessary precautions for her safety.

The court directed the hospital authorities to preserve the terminated foetus for DNA tests in connection with the trial in the rape case.

“We have admitted the patient and started the procedure for termination of her pregnancy,” the AIIMS direct Singh told the media today.

The court has also asked the legal services authorities to keep a watch on the condition of the patient after termination of her pregnancy and provide her financial aid if any.

Apart from this, an order has been issued to provide free legal aid to the victim during the trial of her case.

The court asked the authorities to ensure presence of the witnesses in the court on time during the trial of the case.

The girl, who stayed alone with her mother, had gone out for work in her village, in Saran district in August last year, when she was allegedly raped at knifepoint.

The accused also threatened her with dire consequences if she reported the matter to her family or the police. Eventually the case was registered with the police in October — more than two months later.

Last year in a similar case, the court had refused to grant permission for abortion to an HIV positive rape victim abandoned by her family.

Eventually she delivered a healthy baby girl at a government hospital in Patna in August last year.

The woman, a resident of Patna, had been residing on the streets of the state capital surviving on meagre alms given by the passers-by when she became pregnant after being raped. She was abandoned by her husband some 12 years back after a family dispute.

Meanwhile, a local NGO came to know about her condition and took her to its rehabilitation centre.

During her health check-up, she was found to be both pregnant and HIV positive.

The NGO officials took her to the local state-run Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) after she said she doesn’t want to deliver unclaimed baby. However, the doctors refused to abort the foetus saying it could risky with her life. She was 20-month pregnant at that time.

Eventually, the matter was taken to the Supreme Court but the SC too refused to grant this permission acting on advice by the medical board of the Delhis’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) which suggested it would be risky for both the woman and the baby as she is 26 weeks pregnant.

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