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Bombay HC Allows Teen To Terminate 26-Week Unwanted Pregnancy

The bench ruled that the JJ Hospital doctors had failed to consider the teenager's socio-economic condition and the effect the pregnancy could have on her mental health in the future.

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Abortion At 26 Weeks: The Bombay High Court allowed an 18-year-old unmarried woman to abort her 26-week pregnancy as it could affect her living condition. The courted notified that the foetus was completely healthy.
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A bench headed by Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Madhav Jamdar gave the ruling and noted that when looking at the impact of pregnancy on the woman's mental health, her foreseeable environment should also be taken into account.

As per reports, the woman had sought permission for termination of pregnancy as she said that she was unmarried and not in a position to carry the child to full term. As per the court order, JJ Hospital doctors examined the woman and informed the court that the foetus did not pose any danger to the woman's health and was in good health. They noted that the woman had a 'mild case depression' but she sought treatment for it, the pregnancy will not harm her mental health.

As per the law in India under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortion after 20 weeks is not allowed unless there is a health risk for the foetus and the mother. Even the amendment of the act, yet to be implemented, gives an extension to 24 weeks.

The High Court bench noted the 18-year-old pregnant woman's family condition. The court considered that the woman had three unmarried siblings and her mother is a vegetable seller while her father drives autorickshaws. The bench ruled that the JJ Hospital doctors had failed to consider the teenager's socio-economic condition and the effect the pregnancy could have on her mental health in the future.

The court said, "In deciding whether continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk of injury to the health of the pregnant woman, account may be taken of the pregnant woman's actual or reasonably foreseeable environment."

"In view of the facts and circumstances as narrated above, compelling the petitioner, a girl of tender age, to have an unwanted child may lead to disastrous consequences for the rest of her life not only for the petitioner but for the entire family. Unfortunately, the above factors were not taken into consideration by the medical board while submitting its report," it said.

Unwanted pregnancy abortion laws in india
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