HC allows termination of pregnancy after rape

A woman, who allegedly killed a man for pushing her into prostitution, has been allowed to terminate her pregnancy on the ground that it resulted from rape.

"Forced prostitution virtually amounts to rape," the Madhya Pradesh High Court said while considering the petitioner's plea under Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, which allows abortion on "humanitarian ground where the pregnancy arises from sex crimes like rape or intercourse with lunatic woman etc".

The section also provides for termination of pregnancy on health grounds and in those cases where there is a danger to life or risk to physical or mental health of a woman.

In the 22-page order delivered on Tuesday, Justice S C Sharma clarified that his observation in this case will not prejudice any other case and will not come in the way of the trial court where the woman will face trial for murder.

A mother of three, the petitioner, from Mandsaur, had moved to Indore about a year ago to live with one Usman, whom she accused of forcing her into prostitution.

While seeking termination of her pregnancy, the 35-year-old repeated the allegation in the court on Tuesday. She also filed an affidavit saying she was subjected to forced sex.

Usman was found dead in his house in Azadnagar locality of Indore on November 20. Alleging that she set him afire, the police arrested her the next day.

When she was moved to the district jail a couple of days later she was already six weeks pregnant.

"I don't know who fathered it because I had been forced into prostitution," advocate Shanno Shagufta Khan, who appeared for the petitioner, quoted her as saying.

Senior counsel Piyush Mathur, who was appointed as amicus curiae, argued that there was no police case to back the petitioner's allegation that she became pregnant due to forced sex/rape, and that abortion will create further complications in the matter.

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