A teenage mother in India was denied a late-term abortion by judges of the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court. The girl, who recently turned 18, knew about her pregnancy for several months but did not seek an abortion before the legal cutoff. The court stated that the girl and her unborn baby were healthy and offered counseling and medical care instead. The judges noted that the evidence indicated the girl became pregnant through a consensual relationship.
Indian law allows abortions for any reason up to 24 weeks, but exceptions have been granted in recent years for rape victims and unborn babies with disabilities. In this case, the teenager and her mother argued that her mental health would be affected by having the child.
The court directed social services to provide resources for the girl, including specialized care facilities, counseling services, and medical assistance for when she gives birth. The District Officer of the Women and Child Development Department was instructed to monitor the girl’s well-being regularly.
India has one of the highest abortion rates globally, with approximately 15.6 million abortions occurring in the country in 2015. Late-term abortions are typically performed through a multiple-day procedure involving the termination and delivery of the deceased baby. By 26 weeks of pregnancy, unborn babies can feel pain and are viable outside the womb. Late-term abortions pose risks to mothers and can have psychological implications.