MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A 10-year-old rape victim who was denied an abortion by India’s top court gave birth on Thursday in a case that has drawn outrage about the sexual abuse of children.
The girl did not know she was pregnant and was unaware she had delivered a baby; her parents told their daughter she was undergoing stomach surgery to remove a stone.
“The girl is doing fine, she is recovering. We expect she will be discharged early next week,” said Dasari Harish, who heads a committee overseeing the girl’s care.
The girl, whose identity has been kept secret, delivered a girl by Caesarean section in a state hospital in the northwestern city of Chandigarh, said Harish, who is a hospital physician.
“The parents of the girl have refused to take custody of the child, and have agreed to her adoption through the state agency. They said they don’t even want to see the child,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Local media reports said the girl had been raped by an uncle and that he was now under arrest.
The pregnancy was discovered when the child was taken to the hospital last month after complaining of stomach pains, and was found to be about 30 weeks pregnant.
A local court refused to grant the child an abortion, saying it was too risky at such a late stage. A plea in the Supreme Court was dismissed for the same reason on July 28.
Indian law prohibits terminations at more than 20 weeks unless the mother’s life is in danger or in exceptional circumstances.
An increasing number of such cases have come to the courts in recent years.
In May, a court allowed another 10-year-old girl allegedly raped by her stepfather to undergo an abortion.
As many as 10,854 cases of child rape were reported in India in 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
Activists say that awareness of, and reporting of, sexual violence against women has risen since a fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012, which sparked nationwide protests and a tightening of the law.
But sexual violence against children still remains a taboo topic, with most cases going unreported.