Countenance given to abort 22-week-old Foetus: Supreme Court

  • July 29, 2017
  • 1:29 pm
  • Meghali Gaur

The Supreme Court today granted a woman to abort her 22-week-old foetus, suffering from the complex neurological problem.

The bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar herd the petition.

As the bench referred to the report of the medical board of Mumbai-based Sir JJ Hospital, where the woman was examined in pursuance to the apex court’s July 24 direction, and said that termination of pregnancy be carried out “forthwith”.

Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits the abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Dr KN Shah, a pediatric neurologist, said complications arising due to the said condition may harm the foetus’ developing brain and possibly lead to cognitive impairment. After birth, the baby would need neurological procedure like shunting, which might be quite costly, he said.

The medical board was of the opinion that she has “spontaneously expressed her desire not to continue with the pregnancy” since there was substantial risk of mortality and morbidity in the foetus, if born alive.

                           Dr KN Shah

The woman had approached the apex court seeking its nod to terminate her pregnancy on the ground that the foetus was suffering from a neurological problem.

The woman had told the top court that she had been examined by a paediatric neurologist who had opined that the foetus was suffering from a neurological problem which was likely to aggravate.

The bench said:

“We direct that the medical termination of pregnancy of the woman shall be carried out forthwith at Sir JJ Group of Hospital Mumbai, by the competent doctors after the woman and her husband approach the hospital. Be it stated, no delay shall be brooked.”