The Supreme Court today allowed a woman to terminate her pregnancy after the doctors opined that the 24-week-old foetus was suffering from cardiac anomaly and if born alive, the infant would have to undergo surgeries having a risk of high mortality. The apex court relied on the report of the medical board which suggested that if born alive, the baby will certainly not grow into an adult. It took into account the report of the medical board, constituted to examine the 24-year-old woman, which said that despite several surgeries, such children do not achieve normal oxygen level and would remain physically incapacitated and the life span would be limited. "In these circumstances, it is difficult for us to refuse the permission to the petitioner (woman) to undergo medical termination of pregnancy.
It is certain that the foetus, if allowed to born, would have a limited life span with serious handicaps which cannot be avoided. It appears that the baby will certainly not grow into an adult," a bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said. The bench directed that termination of her pregnancy would be performed by the doctors of Pune-based B J Government Medical College where she had undergone medical check-up in pursuance of the court's direction. The medical board, in its report, told the apex court that, "the surgeries that will be necessary on the foetus have been reported to carry high morbidity and mortality." "The life span of these children even after corrective surgeries is limited as described in medical literature," the report said. The bench also noted in its order that as per opinion of an eminent surgeon, most of such children do not live till the adult life and their life is precarious due to problems resulting from low oxygenation in the body. "In view of the above, we consider it appropriate in the interests of justice and particularly, to permit the petitioner to undergo medical termination of her pregnancy under the provisions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971," the bench said. The woman had moved the court for permission to terminate her pregnancy. Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
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