In a historic judgment, the Bombay High Court on Monday granted permission to a lady to abort her 25-week foetus. The foetus has been detected with a severe abnormality.
This is for the first time that such judgement has given permission. Earlier in 2008, the court denied the petition of a Bhayander resident who also wanted to terminate her pregnancy as the foetus was detected heart complications.
The foetus was diagnosed with Arnold Chiari malformation [type II] — a condition in which there are structural defects in the cerebellum [part of the brain at the back of the skull] said the petitioner’s lawyer.
A Mumbai-based gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Datar was providing legal and medical advice to women past the 20-week legal deadline for abortion.
To terminate pregnancies, 17 women around the suburbs had approached the Supreme Court this year. However, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act does not allow abortions beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy with the exception of a threat to mother’s life.
"In view of the peculiar situation [pertaining to the foetus’ medical complications] and having due regard to the fundamental rights conferred on the petitioner under Article 21 of the Constitution of India to live lives of dignity, it will be appropriate and in the interest of justice to permit the petitioner to undergo medical termination of pregnancy under the provision of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971," Indian Express quoted both the justices.
According to the bench, it is very difficult to refuse permission as the court is certain that if the child is born it will be physically handicapped for life, which is any way cannot be avoided.
A report has been submitted to the committee of High Court on November 3 where Sir JJ Hospital examined the woman and submitted a report on her psychological and physiological condition.
Sir JJ Hospital’s report stated that “There are high chances of meningitis, mental complications, paralysis of lower limb and loss of urine and bowel control. The condition of the foetus fulfils the criteria of a substantial risk of serious physical handicap in the foetus.”
“Thus, if the court permits, the pregnancy can be terminated as desired by the woman,” experts added.
Title Image: Bum