In an attempt to provide relief to a pregnant petitioner seeking to abort her 30 week old unborn baby, Bombay High Court allowed the petitioner to do so citing medical urgency. The petitioner who is a 22-year old, had approached the Bombay HC along with her husband, to allow her to abort her unborn baby as it is suffering from “Schizencephaly”. The petitioner also highlighted that she has another child who is suffering from Down’s Syndrome and adding another child with birth defect will add to her and her husband’s trauma.
A bench of Justices comprising of Justice AS Gadkari and Justice AS Oka, heard the petitioners and their reason to seek abortion at 30th month of pregnancy. The bench then agreed to the idea of voluntary abortion due to the medical abnormalities to the foetus. “As there is a substantial risk of physical abnormalities to the foetus, it is necessary to terminate the pregnancy of the petitioner,” commented the bench of Justices. The doctors of JJ Hospital examined the woman petitioner and approved abortion at this stage of pregnancy, as per the directive by the HC. The advocate to the woman, Kuldeep Nikam, sought permission from the court to allow his client to abort her baby in a Nashik based hospital. Nikam backed his approach by stating that the hospital is well aware of the woman petitioner’s medical and physical state. The court didn’t object in granting the permission to the petitioner.
As per law, aborting foetus above 20 weeks old, is not allowed and must be first sought permission for, before carrying out any such activity. In a recent case in December 2017, the Bombay High Court granted termination of pregnancy at the 26th week of pregnancy of a 13-year old rape victim who was allegedly repeatedly raped by her cousin. The court found the girl physically incapable to deliver a child and allowed the abortion at this risky stage of pregnancy.