A 10-year-old girl, pregnant after being repeatedly raped by her step-father and threatened into silence, has finally been allowed by doctors to abort her foetus, after a city court stated that it will accept the medical panel's recommendation. Indian laws prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, except when the mother's life is in danger.
"After being directed by the local court, our team of doctors examined the victim. There could be complications both in delivery and abortion. There can be uncontrolled bleeding, in some cases the wounds don't heal, sometimes there are side effects of medicine, etc. But we took a decision and submitted our report to the police," Dr Ashok Chauhan, the medical superintendent of Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak, told Indian Express.
'We Took A Humanistic Approach'
The medical board of eight doctors said the girl's pregnancy could be anywhere between 18 and 22 weeks. Dr Chauhan told Hindustan Times that the court gave the panel two options – either consider the foetus's age to be under the legal 20 week-cap and go for an abortion, or wait for the pregnancy to complete its full term and let her give birth. However, considering how traumatic it would be for a 10-year-old child to give birth, the doctors said they decided to take a "humanistic approach and decided to abort."
Sexual violence against children is rampant in India, surging by almost 70 percent according to latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. There were 14,913 reported sex crimes committed against children in 2015 against 8,904 the previous year – including rape, molestation, exploitation for pornography, and trafficking minors for sex. Children are often caught up in the conspiracy of silence in keeping the abuser's identity a secret.
A 2007 government survey found that 53 percent of children had faced one or more forms of sexual abuse, but few reported the assault to anyone, Reuters reported. Almost 95 percent of child sex abuse crimes were committed by people known to the victims.
Raped For Years
The 10-year-old's abortion will be carried out this week, doctor's said.
Her mother, a migrant labourer from Bihar, took her to a doctor after she complained of pain in her leg. The girl told the doctor that she was raped by her step-father — who is also her paternal uncle — for years and was asked to keep the crime a secret under threat.
"If my husband is jailed, where will I go? Iski zindagi toh barbaad hai, par baaki bacchon ka kya."
But there's another problem at hand.
The girl's mother now wants her child's alleged rapist, arrested by the police after the facts of the case came to light, to be freed. He works at a plywood factory in Rohtak, already in the news for the horrific rape, torture and murder of a 23-year-old woman who refused the marriage proposal of her stalker.
"If my husband is jailed, where will I go? Iski zindagi toh barbaad hai, par baaki bacchon ka kya (The girl's life is destroyed but what will happen to my other children)? I need to think about their future, too," she told Indian Express. The alleged rapist possibly took advantage of the fact that the girl could not speak properly after a fall from the roof of their house. She has problems concentrating, her mother said.
Inspector Garima Devi, the investigating officer in the case, told the paper that an FIR under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act has been filed against the accused.