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Judiciary

Supreme Court rejects married woman's plea to terminate her over 26-week pregnancy

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      16 October, 2023 05:17 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court rejects married woman s plea to terminate her over 26 week pregnancy

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea by a married woman to terminate her over 26-week-old pregnancy, after noting that there was no foetal abnormality or risk to mother's health as per the medical reports.

The top court asked AIIMS, New Delhi, to provide all medical help and assistance to the woman to continue with her pregnancy till its full term.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra said the petitioner does not qualify for termination beyond the 24-week limit under Sec 3(2)(b) and 5 of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.

The bench said though the Supreme Court has the power to do complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution, it may not be attracted in every case.

The court also rejected an option to prematurely deliver the underdeveloped child. The bench said that the state may take care of the child after birth if the parents so desired.

On October 13, the court had directed for fresh evaluation of physical and medical conditions of the woman, who sought a permission for abortion due to her mental ailments.

The court also ordered the medical board at AIIMS to ascertain health of her foetus on Friday itself, while observing the Parliament has intended to maintain a balance between the pro choice and the pro life in such situations.

The petitioner claimed she has been undergoing treatment for postpartum psychosis since October 10, 2022.

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 reflected upon 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.

Two women judges of the Supreme Court had earlier disagreed on whether to allow or not the termination of a 26-week pregnancy of the woman, who was earlier permitted by the court to abort it. The matter was heard against as medical report indicated viable child.



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