A 10-year-old Indian girl who was raped repeatedly by her uncle and is six months pregnant has been ruled unable to have an abortion.
A district court in Chandigarh, India, ruled the girl is too young and the pregnancy too advanced for the procedure, which could threaten her life, CBS News reported. Their decision was based upon an opinion of an eight-doctor panel from the city hospital where the girl was examined.
India’s laws ban abortion beyond 20 weeks, though courts have made exceptions for if the fetus wasn’t viable, or the pregnancy risked the life of the mother. However, the panel determined that the fetus was viable, and that an abortion was “not an option at this stage.”
“The only way to terminate the pregnancy is to deliver the baby,” a senior member of the panel told CBS News.
According to the Indian Express, the girl’s parents found out she was pregnant after she complained of stomach pains. She then told her mother that her uncle had raped her six to seven times when he visited them. The uncle was later arrested.
Pregnancies for younger girls come with life-threatening complications, such as anemia and hemorrhaging, the Washington Post points out. Additionally, full-term pregnancies, vaginal births, and Caesarean sections are all risky for someone so young, as pelvic bones don’t funny develop until the later teen years.
Despite the panel’s recommendation, other gynecologists argue that the girl should have the fetus aborted and that the psychological effects of giving birth at 10 years old outweigh the potential risk of the abortion itself.
While the girl and her family have the legal option to seek a review of the ruling with a higher court, the doctor panel says she may not have enough time to do so before the baby is born.