Following an express order from the Orissa High Court and the subsequent opinion from a medical board, doctors at the SCB Medical College Hospital here on Saturday medically terminated thepregnancy of a 14-year-old rape victim, who was pregnant for 23 weeks.
The High Court had on Friday directed the Superintendent of thereferral hospital to constitute a board of three medical expertsand examine the minor girl and go for medical termination of pregnancy“at the very earliest” if the board suggests so without waiting forany court orders.“The process of MTP has already begun as per the suggestion of athree-member Medical Board,” informed Hospital Superintendent ProfLucy Das on Saturday afternoon.
On being urgently mentioned, a Division Bench comprisingChief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray had taken up a writpetition filed by a native of Puri who had prayed for medicaltermination of pregnancy of his daughter as per the MTP (Amendment) Act of 2021.
The Puri District Headquarters Hospital had referred the girl for abortion to the SCB Hospital on March 26 noting in the referral sheet that her pregnancy was 21 weeks old. The referral hospital on March 30 wrote a letter to the Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) stating that since the pregnancy was more than 20 weeks old, the MTP could only be done with permission from a court.
But since the MTP Act has been amended recently allowingtermination of pregnancy by medical experts where the length ofpregnancy has exceeded 20 weeks but has not exceeded 24 weeks and if two registered medical practitioners formed an opinion that suchpregnancy shall constitute a grave injury to the mental health of thepregnant woman and where the pregnancy is alleged to have been caused by rape.
Considering the amendment and a recent judgment of theSupreme Court in the Chandrakant Jayantilal Suthar case, the High Court directed the SCB Hospital to form an opinion by Saturday noon and proceed to arrange for the MTP at the very earliest.