Bombay High Court allows Mumbai-based woman to abort 25-week foetus

Mumbai: In a breather to a 28-year-old city-based woman, the Bombay High Court on Monday allowed her to terminate her 25-weeks foetus. The HC granted the permission after considering the report of the medical board, which recommended the abortion.

A division bench of Justice Shantanu Kemkar and Justice Girish Kulkarni, heard a writ petition filed by Priti Rawal seeking permission to abort her 25-weeks foetus. According to her, she was barred from medical termination in spite of the diagnosis of a “foetal abnormality.” She contended to have been undergone severe ‘psychological, physical and emotional trauma due to the provision of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP), which prohibits abortion once the foetus turns 20-weeks-old.

Pursuant to the orders passed by the judges, last week, the medical board in Sir Jamshedjee Jeejeebhoy hospital, examined Rawal on Saturday and filed a report on it. In its report, the medical board recommended that the judges grant permission as they baby would not survive for a long period after birth, owing to the severe deformities in the foetus. Having perused the report, the judges allowed Rawal to undergo an abortion in the state-run JJ Hospital on Tuesday. In her plea, Rawal said it is the HC’s ‘constitutional’ obligation to protect her ‘reproductive rights’ including the right to life and health as envisaged in the Constitution of India.

She also prayed for an immediate action, which she claims is required to provide necessary medical and psychological care to women like her. She had also sought the HC’s intervention to revise the MTP Act, to protect pregnant women from suffering physical and mental pain of carrying a foetus, which cannot survive and ensure that reproductive health care is accessible and administered in a humane and gender-focused manner.

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