NEW DELHI: Coming to rescue to a 24-week pregnant woman facing danger to her life due to abnormality in foetus, the Supreme Court on Monday granted her permission to terminate her pregnancy.
A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao allowed a plea of a Mumbai-based 22-year-old woman to terminate her pregnancy after taking into account her medical report which of a team of seven doctors of King Edward Memorial(KEM) hospital in Mumbai. The report says that the there was very little chance of survival of the foetus and the lady’s life would be engendered if it was not aborted.
The apex court had appointed the board of seven senior doctors to conduct medical examination of the lady and directed it to file report about her “condition and advisability of permitting a medical termination of pregnancy”. Complying with its order, the board filed a report and favoured medical termination of the pregnancy. It said that the foetus was detected with anencephaly, a serious defect where parts of the skull are not adequately developed.
On the basis board’s suggestion, the bench allowed the lady to undergo abortion and directed that the termination would be done under the supervision of the board. The court said that it was not necessary to go into “medical and medico-legal aspect of the identity of the foetus and the matter is to be decided from the standpoint of petitioner to preserve her life”.
“In these circumstances, we consider it appropriate and in the interest of justice, particularly the right of the petitioner to preserve her life, that she be allowed to undergo the termination of pregnancy. The termination shall be done by the doctors of KEM hospital. Further the termination shall be supervised by the same medical board,” the bench said.
The court said, “The foetus is not compatible to life outside uterus. In other words foetus would not be able to survive. Equally, rather more important, continuance of the pregnancy would endanger the physical and mental health of the petitioner”.
The woman approached the court after doctors refused to terminate the pregnancy as it was not allowed under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The law permits a woman to terminate her pregnancy till 20 weeks if two registered practitioners express unanimous opinion that continuation of pregnancy would threaten the mother’s life or the foetus has severe abnormalities.
This is the third incident in recent years when the apex court has allowed women to abort beyond the period prescribed under law. In July last year, the court had allowed a rape survivor’s distress plea to abort her 24-week pregnancy citing serious abnormalities with the foetus. The court had allowed her to abort on the basis of medical report from KEM hospital which said that foetus had serious abnormalities with slim chances of surviving the full term.
In a similar case, a minor rape victim from Gujarat had moved the SC in July 2015 seeking termination of pregnancy even though the foetus was more than 20 weeks. The court allowed the termination on the basis of medical report recommending in favour of abortion to save her life.
Source: Times of India