A 10-year-old Indian girl who said she was impregnated by her uncle gave birth by Caesarean section Thursday after a court denied her request for an abortion in July.
The girl gave birth to a baby girl through a Caesarian section at the Government Medical College and Hospital in the northern city of Chandigarh, according to The Indian Express. After 35 weeks of pregnancy, she delivered a 5.5-pound baby. The girl — unnamed because of legal reasons — and her daughter are in good condition, reported BBC. The girl is unaware she gave birth.
“The child is too young for a normal delivery,” a doctor said. “Her pelvic bones are not strong enough to push the baby and she does not have the stamina to bear labor pain.”
While she was pregnant, her parents told her she had a large stone in her stomach.
The girl and her family became aware of her pregnancy mid-July when she told her parents she had a stomachache and they took her to the hospital. Based on her descriptions, her parents and medical professionals concluded she was raped and was 32 weeks pregnant.
The girl said she was raped six or seven times by her uncle when he visited their house. After her uncle’s arrest, her family appealed to a local court to grant her an abortion. A Chandigarh district court ruled the girl was too young and too far along in her pregnancy to have an abortion. The Indian Supreme Court denied her request for an abortion July 28.
The cutoff for abortions in India is 20 weeks unless there is a threat to the life of the mother or the child. The decision sparked surprise in the medical community, with some medical professionals saying it was not safe for a girl so young to deliver a child.
“An abortion needs to be done immediately. Yes, there are risks and abortion at this stage is tough, but for the girl who is still developing, the scars will be many,” Puneet Bedi, a Delhi gynecologist, said to The Quint.
The girl’s parents did not notice her pregnancy until she was further along, describing her as “a healthy, chubby child.” They also said they never thought their daughter would be pregnant at 10.
Courts have started receiving petitions from child rape victims asking to terminate pregnancies after 20 weeks. Pregnancy among children who are raped is often discovered later because the children are unaware of the rape and, in turn, the pregnancy. The 10-year-old girl was described as innocent by child welfare officials. They said she was unaware of what happened to her. Officials said she could be the youngest recorded child to give birth.
India has the world's largest population of sexually abused children. More than 10,000 children were raped in India in 2015, reported BBC.
The girl’s parents planned to give her newborn up for adoption.