The Telangana High Court on Thursday with a single-judge bench of Justice Bollam Vijaysen Reddy permitted the abortion of a 26-week pregnant rape survivor. The court also directed the superintendent of Koti Maternity Hospital in Hyderabad to take necessary precautions during and after the process. The girl’s mother went to the High Court because the hospital refused to abort the fetus.
Since the rights of the rape victim were more important than the rights of the fetus, the court ruled that the life of the fetus or an unborn child cannot be placed above the life of the petitioner.
Dignity, self-respect, healthy life (mental or physical), etc. are facets of the right to life and personal freedom, enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which also include the right of women to choose between pregnancy and termination if pregnancy is through rape or sexual abuse is caused or in case of unplanned pregnancy, subject to reasonable restrictions under the law.
The court also ordered the investigating officer to forward the petitioner’s blood and tissue samples to the appropriate forensic laboratory for their DNA and other pertinent medical evidence during the investigation. If the petitioner requests compensation for the victim, the Legal Services Authority, the High Court should provide the petitioner with the necessary assistance and ensure that the compensation provided by law is properly awarded, the court said.