On July 28, the family of a 10-year-old Indian girl who fell pregnant after allegedly being raped received another devastating piece of news.
India’s Supreme Court rejected a petition to allow the young girl to have an abortion, the BBC reports. A panel of doctors had declared that terminating the fetus would be “too risky” for the girl, who was 32 weeks pregnant at the time.
The 10-year-old was allegedly raped—repeatedly—by a relative who is currently waiting for a trial.
In India, abortions are not permitted beyond 20 weeks under the 1971 Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, although extreme allowances are made, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
In a BBC investigation, reporter Geeta Pandey, learned that the young girl has not been told about her pregnancy.
The little girl has been informed that her pregnant belly is actually due to a big stone in her stomach.
"She's very innocent and has no idea what's happened to her,” a person close to the 10-year-old explained.
A senior police official said while the girl might not understand her pregnancy "I think she has some idea now".
Mahavir Singh, of the Chandigarh State Legal Services Authority, told the BBC: "We have seen lots of cases of teenage pregnancies involving 14 to 15-year-olds, but this is the first ever case that I have seen of a 10-year-old.”
The news comes amidst public outcry in India about the government’s poor response to rape and violence against women.
This article first published on Marie Claire.