High court to take decision about termination of teenager’s pregnancy

Chennai: The question of whether or not to terminate the pregnancy of a 14-year-old girl who is more than five months into it now, will come up before Madras High Court on Tuesday.

The case relates to a girl rescued by CBCID from a commercial sex racket a year ago. Child Welfare Committee had sent her for rehabilitation to an NGO –Madras Christian Council of Social Service,from where she went missing for five months.

After a habeas corpus petition was filed in the HC, the girl returned and was produced in the court, but was found to be five months pregnant. As the case is scheduled to come up for further hearing, director of ChangeIndia,A Narayanan filed a petition seeking a decision on basis of experts advice on terminating the minors pregnancy without any risk to her life.

I have petitioned for the court to constitute senior gynaecologists, paediatrician, and a clinical psychologist to offer an expert opinion similar to what the Supreme Court did in July this year to decide about the24-week pregnancy of a minor rape, Narayanan said. The Apex Court had allowed the teenager to abort, if doctors permitted.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 does not allow abortion over 20 weeks, unless it risks the pregnant womans life or injures her physical or mental health. If the woman alleges rape as caused of her pregnancy that anguish amounts to injury to mental health, the Act says. Incidentally, during the time when she went missing, the four people arrested for trafficking her were out on bail.

The petitoner said MCCSS is a home registered under social defence department and also runs centres for elderly and women, but that violations have been reported there. However MCCSS executive secretary Isabel Richardson said they have proper security arrangements with two residential female guards available in the home for 24- hours and that no outsiders are allowed. The minor ran away during construction work. She returned apparently due to the pressure exerted by CB-CID.

However, activists have called for cancelling license of the NGO,saying it was not registered under Tamil Nadu Hostels and Homes for Women and Children (Regulation) Act 2014.