05/14/2010, 00.00
INDIA
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Gujarat: Court advises 13 year old girl who was raped to have an abortion

by Nirmala Carvalho
Judges grant the mother’s request for termination of the pregnancy reversing ruling of a the local court. They consider the child's birth will endanger the girl’s mental health and creates a social and economic problem for the family. Bishop Agnelo Gracias, President of the Commission on Family and Life for the Indian Bishops' Conference: "Justice should punish the criminal and not the innocent."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Gujarat High Court will allow an abortion for a girl of 13 who became pregnant after being raped and currently still in shock. The decision was taken last May 10 and reverses the ruling of the local court on 30 March which rejected the application for an abortion made by the girl's mother. The high court considers the birth of the baby a danger to mental and physical health of the girl, adding that it could cause future problems of social and economic nature for the family.

Abortion has been legal in India since 1971. Women from poorer social classes usually make use of it, unable to care for the unborn, they prefer to terminate the pregnancy. In the case of sexual violence on minors, it is widespread among the poor population, the courts resolve the issue by forcing the victims to have abortions.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Mgr. Agnelo Gracias, President of the Commission on Family and Life of the Bishops' Conference of India, addresses the case within the sphere of moral and legal. " Not everything legally permissible is morally permissible - said the bishop - To take one clear example: Some years ago, newspapers reported the move of some Dutch legislators to get bestiality legalized. Even if that were to happen, bestiality could never be morally permissible. Hence, these comments do not concern the legality of the case, but the morality. "

Archbishop Gracias does not reduce the drama of the case. "For the girl - he says – it must have been a terrible experience and we all have compassion for her, but this does not justify abortion. The human life that is inside her is innocent and does not deserve death. "

For the prelate compassion must be accompanied by active supported. "We must help the girl to emerge from the trauma - he says - and to find a solution for the child, giving him up for adoption so that the victims can begin a new life and give the baby a future without shame. The Church would willingly give this help, if needed. "

“Along with support – he added – we must prevent the recurrence of cases of rape. Exemplary punishment of the criminals could serve as a deterrent and a quick justice system would make criminals understand that sexual violence is not tolerated in a civilized society. Justice should punish the criminal and not the innocent. "
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