The Supreme Court on Monday made a landmark judgment, coming to the aid of a 24-week pregnant woman from Mumbai, giving her permission to undergo medical termination due to a certain abnormality in the foetus (underdeveloped). The Supreme Court granted the life-saving abortion as the woman was in a highly critical situation.

A bench, comprising Justice SA Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao, allowed the 22-year-old woman to abort after verifying her medical report. The move comes soon after a team of seven doctors of King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital in Mumbai said that if she carries on with her pregnancy, there’s a high chance that she won’t survive. She was in a very complicated situation with her foetus outside the uterus due to an undeveloped skull.

The woman went for a routine check-up at a private clinic in the western suburbs of Mumbai when she found out about the defect through a sonography. She was in her 21st week of gestation back then.

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After her plea, the apex court observed that the continuation of pregnancy would have been a risk to her life, following which they appointed a board of seven senior doctors to conduct a medical examination. The court also directed the board to file a report about her “condition and advisability of permitting a medical termination of pregnancy“. The board’s report approved medical termination of the pregnancy.

The lady will undergo an abortion under the supervision of the same team of seven doctors. According to the court, “it was not necessary to go into medical and medico-legal aspect of the identity of the foetus and the matter is to be decided from the standpoint of petitioner to preserve her life”, TOI reports.

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“In these circumstances, we consider it appropriate and in the interest of justice, particularly the right of the petitioner to preserve her life, that she be allowed to undergo the termination of pregnancy. The termination shall be done by the doctors of KEM hospital. Further, the termination shall be supervised by the same medical board,” the bench said.

This event reminds us of a rather similar incident from the past when a 23-year-old rape survivor was also permitted to terminate her 24-week pregnancy by the Supreme Court in July last year.

Also Read: Now, a safe space to share abortion ordeal

Under The Medical Termination Pregnancy Act, 1971, abortion is legal in India only up to 20 weeks of pregnancy if it involves a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or poses a threat of grave injury to physical or mental health, or involves a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities.

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