Girl, 11, pregnant after being raped by boy, 14, should have termination – judge

A pregnant 11-year-old girl who has twice been raped by teenage boys should have a termination, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot was told how the girl became pregnant earlier this year, after being raped by a 14-year-old boy she “met on the internet”, when aged 10.

She was raped by another 14-year-old boy, a few weeks later, when she was 11, the judge heard.

The judge has made decisions about what moves are in the girl’s best interests after considering the case at a recent private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

She also ruled that the placenta should be used for the “purposes of forensic testing in a criminal investigation”.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot has outlined detail of the case in a written ruling made available on Wednesday.

Health authority bosses had asked the judge to rule that a termination of pregnancy was in the girl’s best interests and that taking tissue from the placenta for forensic testing was in her best interests.

The judge has ruled that children involved cannot be identified and has not named the “health board” which began litigation.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot said the girl lived at home with her parents.

She said council social workers had “safeguarding concerns” about the care she was receiving at home from her mother and father.

The judge said the girl was now 11.

“She became pregnant after being raped by a 14-year-old she met on the internet when she was aged 10, on the 18th or 21st of May 2023,” said Mrs Justice Arbuthnot.

“She was raped by another 14-year-old boy on the 11th of June 2023, but he did not make her pregnant.”

The judge said a health board had applied for “declarations that a termination of pregnancy would be in her best interests” and that it would be “in her best interests for tissue taken from the placenta to be used for the purposes of forensic testing in a criminal investigation”.

She concluded that both moves were in the girl’s best interests.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot heard from specialists and professionals involved in the girl’s care.

She heard that the girl had been “self-harming” following a family bereavement and had a history of “neglecting herself”.

The judge was also told that the girl had been “watching pornography since the age of eight”.

She was also told of “signs” that the girl had been putting herself into “sexually exploitable positions”.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot said she had considered the provision of the abortion legislation.

Specialist evidence showed that the girl lacked the “intellectual development and capacity” to “process the complexity of the decisions that had to be made”, said the judge.

Doctors had told the judge that “physical health risks” were “over and above the normal risks of pregnancy”.

They said there were “no studies on pregnancy in children as young as 11”.

The judge said the risks of continuing the pregnancy and childbirth were “significant”.

She said she was concerned about the impact of the “size” of the girl’s “anatomy”.

“Her body may be just too small to give birth other than by a caesarean,” said the judge.

“Any experience would be likely to traumatise her.”

The judge added: “Another issue which in my judgment would affect her mental health in the longer term if the pregnancy were to continue is that the baby was conceived during a rape.”

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