DOCTORS in India are allowing a 10-year-old rape victim to have an abortion although she has crossed the 20-week limit for terminations, according to local police.
An AFP report (via Channel News Asia) said the girl from Haryana state claims she had been repeatedly raped by her stepfather but only came to know of her pregnancy recently when her mother took her to see a doctor.
Authorities were only notified of her case last week, after she had crossed the 20-week legal limit. After the 20 weeks, Indian law stipulates that terminations are only allowed when the pregnancy is threatening the life of the mother or the baby.
“The court had asked the medical board to take a call and doctors have decided to go ahead with the abortion,” Garima Devi, the police investigation officer assigned to the case, told AFP.
“The board has not said when they are planning it (abortion) but it will be any time soon.”
A BBC article on the case quoted Dr Ashok Chauhan as confirming the abortion will be carried out soon. The report also said the girl is often left home alone whenever her mother goes to work.
The girl’s stepfather, meanwhile, was arrested after her mother lodged a police report.
India is said to be home to the largest number of child sex abuse cases in the world.
However, the topic remains a taboo in the socially-conservative nation and is largely ignored within families as victims fear speaking out would result in them getting blamed for the abuse.
According to data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of child sexual abuse cases including rape, molestation, exploitation for pornography and trafficking minors for sex, spiked by 70 percent in recent years.
The BBC, quoting Unicef and government sources, said a child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes in India, while a child under 10 is raped every 13 hours.
At least 50 percent of abusers, it added, are known to the child or are “persons in trust and care-givers”.