SC allows abortion of ailing foetus

A SC Bench consisting of Justices Dipak Mishra and A.M. Khanwilkar, taking note of the mental stress suffered by the woman, allowed abortion of the ailing foetus.

Supreme Court of India image

The SC on Monday allowed a woman to abort her over 20-weeks-old foetus with severe abnormalities. The court said every woman has a sacrosanct right to bodily integrity and she has the right to choose.

This judgement, however, transcends the limit imposed by the law – Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act – 1971. As per the law, abortion is illegal if pregnancy crosses the mark of 20 weeks.

As per Section 3(2) of the Act, abortion is only allowed if pregnancy was under 20 weeks old and done on the advice of only 2 registered medical practitioners, who should certify that the pregnant woman was risking “grave injury to her physical and mental health” or there was a danger of the child being born with a severe mental or physical handicap.

In this case, the woman approached the SC seeking permission to abort her foetus after she discovered that it suffered from a severe form of cardiac impairment called pulmonary atresia. She also presented to the court a report by a paediatric pulmonologist which said there was a high possibility of permanent brain damage.

Pulmonary Atresia Image

Pic Credit: childrenshospital.org

This case is one of the many similar cases that have come to the SC recently. The court’s order s in such cases have been on a case-to-case basis.