"She Has A Choice To Give Birth To Child Or Not": Bombay HC Allows Rape Victim To Medically Terminate Pregnancy
The Bombay High Court has reiterated that it is the right of woman to have reproductive choice.
The Bench of Justice Urmila Joshi-Phalke and Justice A.S. Chandurkar was adjudicating upon a writ petition seeking termination of pregnancy by a minor.
It was submitted that in view of sexual abuse, petitioner was carrying the pregnancy. It was further submitted that she hailed from economically weak section hence was unable to up-bring the child.
Admittedly, the petitioner was staying in a custody of Observation Home. She was also charged for the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. She was also victim of sexual abuse.
The report of the medical board was called for and the Medical Board opined that the petitioner had pregnancy of 16 weeks and had consented for the pregnancy to be terminated.
The Court placed reliance on catena of decisions of the Supreme Court where it was held that the right of a woman to have reproductive choice was an insegregable part of her personal liberty as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The Court also observed that where any pregnancy was alleged by any pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, the anguish caused by such pregnancy was presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.
The Court held that if the child is born she would not able to receive financial and emotional support from her family members. "It would be difficult for her to raise the child as she does not have any source of income. In such circumstances and taking overall view of the matter, we are of the view that declining such permission to the petitioner would tantamount to compelling her to continue with her pregnancy which in the circumstances will not only be a burden on her, but it would also cause grave injury to her mental health", the Court noted.
Accordingly the Court allowed the petitioner to undergo medical termination of her pregnancy.