NEW DELHI // A 10-year-old Indian girl allegedly raped by her stepfather is expected to undergo an abortion on Wednesday despite being over the 20-week pregnancy limit, in a case that has renewed the focus on sexual violence against women and children in the country.
The victim’s mother discovered her daughter was several weeks pregnant but could not get an abortion because Indian law prohibits terminations over 20 weeks unless the mother’s life is in danger or in exceptional circumstances.
Then last week, a court allowed the abortion to go ahead.
Investigators have alleged that the girl’s stepfather, a construction worker, repeatedly raped the girl while her mother was away working as a domestic helper.
The girl was in hospital in Rohtak in the northern state of Haryana, 65 kilometres from New Delhi.
“The doctors can’t wait even for a day now and at the same time we want to ensure the girl’s life is not at risk,” said investigating officer Grima, who only uses one name.
Sexual violence against women is a highly-charged issue in India, where the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 sparked nationwide protests about entrenched violence against women and the failure of authorities to protect them.
As many as 10,854 cases of child rape were reported in India in 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.