16-year-old rape survivor can’t abort; asks who will raise the baby

legal-newsFor the 16-year-old Bareilly rape survivor who has been pleading to the court for an abortion after she found herself pregnant, time is running out. Denied permission to abort her 33-week pregnancy by a medical panel on Wednesday, which took nearly a week to give its report, the girl said she seems to be slowly losing her battle as the system “neither understands nor is empathetic” to her anguish. The minor survivor will now once again file a plea in the HC asking who will take care of the baby.

The girl had petitioned the court of additional chief judicial magistrate-2 (ACJM-2) on July 26 this year for termination of her then 26 weeks’ pregnancy. “I will not be in a position to raise the baby because of our finances and because the child will be a constant reminder of my trauma and shame,” she told TOI on Wednesday, recalling how the court had then rejected her plea. The family had subsequently moved the Allahabad high court on August 24, requesting intervention in the matter.

 In the past four months, the pregnant teenager has made several trips between courts and hospitals, making a one-way journey of 50 km from Bairamnagar villag to Bareilly city nearly every day. “The journey was always tough. We did not have enough money to hire cars. We would walk in the scorching heat and change vehicles at least four times. What hurts me most is that people have failed to understand my pain. The accused, who employed me as a cook, repeatedly raped me. But once I conceived, he abandoned me,” said the teary-eyed girl, who is a class V dropout. Her family says they have been left in the lurch and does not know which door to knock now.

The medical report said that she will be unable to abort her fetus under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act which states that termination of pregnancy in such an advanced stage was not permissible. “We will again file a writ plea in the HCon Friday. We will ask what should be done to the baby now. We will also request the court to take steps for the future of the child and ask the court to pass an order as to who will take care and bear expenses of the kid,” said the family’s lawyer VP Dhyani.

“Since the accused and his family have refused to accept the child, it will be bereft of his father’s name. If the kid is born, it would always remind me of my trauma. Everyone has been telling us that the fetus cannot be aborted, but what about me? What about my life? I want the court or the government to hand over the child for adoption,” said the girl.

 Meanwhile, for her father, who can neither read nor write, terms such as ‘developed fetus’ does not mean much. “We are clear that we do not want this child as my daughter is a child herself. Nobody will accept her for marriage in future. Besides, the entire village is against this pregnancy. We have received threats that we will be forced to leave our house if this birth takes place,” said the girl’s father. He works as a labourer and said that they are not in a position to feed another mouth.

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