The Bombay High Court granted permission to a 35-year-old woman to abort her 32-week old foetus which suffers from a “high mortality” heart condition. This order was passed by a division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Milind Jadhav on Thursday. 

According to Mumbai Mirror, the bench allowed the woman, who is a Vile Parle resident to undergo the procedure following the “intrauterine foeticide” method at a medical facility equipped to handle such cases.

Earlier, the bench asked a panel of six doctors from JJ Hospital to examine the woman. The report submitted by the panel ruled that the foetus suffers from ‘high mortality’ heart condition. 

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The report stated, “The foetus suffers from ‘single atrium and ventricle with truncus arteriosus, pulmonary atresia, with PDA, with single AV valve with mild AV valve regurgitation,’ which is a serious cardiac anomaly having high neonatal morbidity and mortality.” 

The bench observed that there is no reason to reject the report and allowed the woman to abort the pregnancy despite being in an advanced stage.

Advocate DV Saroj filed the petition which stated that the woman learned about her pregnancy in March this year when the couple wanted to start the family. It also stated that the foetus was first detected on August 19 at a hospital. Following which the doctor advised the woman for further tests. The woman met five different doctors, and all of them gave a similar opinion to the couple that the foetus may not survive. 

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Subsequently, the woman decided to approach the high court to have the pregnancy medically terminated because it was beyond the 20-week threshold, by when it could be aborted legally.

Abortions in India

This year in June, the Supreme Court allowed a woman from Dahisar, Mumbai to selectively terminate one of her twin foetuses because one of her two foetuses was said to have Down Syndrome.

 Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division that results in extra genetic material from chromosome 21. You can read more from here

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, 2020

On 29 January 2020, the Union Cabinet approved the amendments to the 1971 Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act allowing women to seek abortions as part of reproductive rights and gender justice.

In March the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 was amended to increase the upper limit of abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. It also allowed abortion beyond 24 weeks for foetuses that are “abnormal”,  that is the children that could be born with disabilities.

Also Read: MTP Act 1971: Supreme Court To Examine PIL On Abortion Law

Earlier the MTP Act of 1971 stated that pregnancies can be terminated, within a period of 12-20 weeks. Pregnancies that are beyond the gestation period of 20 weeks, needed the assent of two medical practitioners for termination. You can read more from here

Sagrika Giri is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.

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