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Judiciary

Supreme Court directs for fresh evaluation of conditions of woman seeking to end over 26-week pregnancy

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      13 October, 2023 04:16 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court directs for fresh evaluation of conditions of woman seeking to end over 26-week pregnancy

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday directed for fresh evaluation of physical and medical conditions of a 26-week pregnant woman, who sought a permission for abortion in view of her ailments.

The court also ordered the medical board at AIIMS here to ascertain health of her foetus on Friday itself.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra expressed doubts over the claims by the woman, a mother of two children, that she suffered from depression and severe postpartum psychosis.

The court noted advocate Amit Mishra, appearing for the woman submitted a bunch of prescriptions that petitioner is going treatment for postpartum psychosis since October 10, 2022.


The initial handwritten prescription from a Noida clinic doesn't specify that the nature of the ailment for which the drugs were administered and that all other subsequent prescriptions are silent on nature of ailment, the bench said.

"Having regards to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, it would be necessary to have a medical opinion of AIIMS on the following, whether the foetus is suffering from any abnormality? Whether there is any evidence to suggest that continuance of pregnancy full term would be jeopardised by drugs prescribed," the bench said.

Taking up the matter, the court noted the earlier report of AIIMS stated that the foetus is normal, in order to place the matter beyond doubt, further report may be submitted.

The bench also granted liberty to AIIMS to carry out their own independent evaluation of mental and physical condition of petitioner.

The court fixed the matter for consideration on Monday.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati said the question here was involved as to pro choice and pro life. The law in our country is pro choice for the prospective mother, she said.

On Thursday, the court had asked the woman to reconsider her decision to terminate the pregnancy as her foetus is a viable unborn child now and it can't kill her.

The court also pointed towards  serious ethical dilemma for the doctors since terminating the pregnancy would amount to foeticide.

"Autonomy of woman must trump, but what about the unborn child, nobody is appearing for her. How do you balance out rights of the unborn child," the bench had asked.

On Wednesday, two women judges of the Supreme Court differed with each other whether to allow or not the termination of a 26-week pregnancy of the woman, as doctors had a second thought after development of heart of the foetus.
 



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