Indian doctors take call to save baby of teen rape survivor permitted abortion by top court

MUMBAI (AFP) - A 13-year-old rape survivor who was allowed to terminate a late pregnancy by India's Supreme Court has given birth to a pre-term baby boy, a doctor said on Friday (Sept 8).

The teenager was 32 weeks pregnant, well beyond India's 20-week legal limit after which terminations are only allowed where there is a danger to the life of the mother or the baby.

On Wednesday, in a rare ruling, the top court had allowed the girl to terminate the pregnancy in view of the "trauma she has suffered... and the agony she is going through at the present", according to the copy of the order reviewed by AFP.

Dr Nikhil Datar, a Mumbai-based doctor who had examined the girl earlier, said the doctors took a call to save the foetus, a decision they said was in line with the Supreme Court order.

"Terminating pregnancy as sought by the Supreme Court means discontinuing the pregnancy and not killing the foetus," Dr Datar told AFP. "The Court focused on (the) mother's health as she is a minor and after the termination we have to accept the consequences as they come."

The baby, who is in intensive neonatal care, will be put up for adoption, the hospital said.

The girl, who cannot be named as per Indian law, was raped allegedly by her father's colleague, who has been arrested.

In recent months, courts have received a number of petitions from women - including young rape survivors and trafficking victims - seeking abortions where pregnancies had gone beyond 20 weeks.

Activists say the restriction should be extended to 24 weeks as victims of rape are often late to report their pregnancies.

India has a gruesome record of sexual assaults on minors, with 20,000 cases reported in 2015, according to government data.