A 10-year-old rape survivor in India has been denied an abortion, despite the fact that giving birth is risky at such a young age, the Times of India reports. Medical termination of pregnancy is allowed up to 20 weeks gestation, though exceptions are allowed if the mother's health is at risk, per CBS; an ultrasound found that the girl—who was allegedly raped multiple times by her uncle—is 26 weeks along. Medical experts say full-term pregnancy could be dangerous as the pelvic bones are not fully developed in someone so young; she will likely deliver via Caesarean section, which carries its own risks.
The medical superintendent at the hospital where a panel of doctors examined the girl says that abortion would carry more of a risk, the Washington Post reports. And one doctor who was on that panel tells CBS (which says the girl is 30 weeks along) that the fetus is viable even if delivered now: "Abortion is not an option at this stage. The only way to terminate the pregnancy is to deliver the baby." In a similar case, a court allowed a 10-year-old in the country an abortion at between 18 and 22 weeks pregnant. While the girl in the current case can appeal, experts say the process would likely not be completed before she is due to give birth. (Read more abortion stories.)