Set up board to look into plea on abortion, says HC

The Delhi High Court has directed the All India Institute Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to constitute a medical board to examine a woman who wanted medical termination of her 24-week pregnancy as her foetus is suffering from facial haemorrhage and hydrocephalus.

Justice Navin Chawla asked the Medical Superintendent of AIIMS here to appoint a Board of Doctors to examine the woman and give a report on the advisability of her undergoing medical termination of pregnancy.

In India, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act stipulates a ceiling of 20 weeks for termination of pregnancy beyond which abortion of foetus is statutorily impermissible.

The woman in her plea stated that she is in the 24th week of her pregnancy and during medical examinations, it has been reported that the foetus is suffering from facial haemorrhage and hydrocephalus. The plea has also challenged the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the MTP Act.

The plea argued that the provision providing for the 20-week ceiling may have been reasonable when the section was enacted in 1971 but has ceased to be reasonable today where technology has advanced and it is perfectly safe for a woman to abort at any point during the entire period of pregnancy.

It also contended that determination of foetal abnormality in many cases can only be done after the 20th week and by keeping the ceiling artificially low, women who obtain reports of serious foetal abnormalityhave to suffer excruciating pain and agony.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 10:06:00 PM |

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