Bombay HC Allows Woman To Undergo MTP At Sassoon Hospital

Bombay HC Allows Woman To Undergo MTP At Sassoon Hospital

The bench permitted the woman under the procedure at the Sassoon General Hospital in Pune.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, May 31, 2024, 03:13 AM IST
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Bombay HC | File

The Bombay High Court on Thursday allowed a 19-year-old woman to undergo medical termination of pregnancy (MTP), observing that its continuation may cause “grave psychological injury” to her.

The woman’ “sovereign entitlement to make an autonomous choice about her body and to exercise it in the form of opting for medical termination lends itself to acceptance”, a vacation bench of Justices Nitin Borkar and Somasekhar Sunderesan said.

HC heard the petition by the woman, pursuing higher studies, seeking MTP stating that she was in a consensual relationship and the two eventually plan to marry. However, she sought to terminate the pregnancy on the grounds of social stigma and potential trauma to her.

Following her plea, the HC asked the medical board to examine her and also evaluate her mental and emotional health, as per the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court recently.

The medical board report recommended MTP giving an explicit finding that “considering the woman’s current psychological status, sociocultural and economic conditions, continuation of pregnancy can lead to grave psychological injury”. The board also certified her physically fit to undergo the procedure.

The state opposed the plea contending that her partner would have “a stake in the decision”, particularly since the case is of a consensual relationship, and not a sexual assault.

Relying on the apex court’s judgment, the HC said that the law “renders the partner as not being a stakeholder in the choice of exercise of reproductive right by the pregnant person, ie the choice of whether to terminate or continue with the pregnancy”.

“Considering that the petitioner is an adult (aged over 19 years) and is entitled to her own sovereign decision for reproductive autonomy, the views of her parents or of her partner are not relevant,” the judges said.

According to the medical board, the 26-week old foetus had no abnormalities and that there were chances of live child being born despite the termination procedure, and in such a case there would be a “high possibility of immediate and a long-term physical and mental disability, which would seriously jeopardise the quality of life of the child”.

The bench, however, permitted the woman under the procedure at the Sassoon General Hospital in Pune. “We are sure the Sassoon Hospital and its medical board would take care to ensure sensitive treatment and handling of the petitioner in connection with all procedures, whether medical or administrative, keeping her emotional and mental health at the forefront.”

While concluding, Justice Somasekhar, referring to the suspension of two doctors of the hospital in relation to the Porsche accident case, remarked: “Hope hospital is not too distracted with things that are going on and gives due attention to this.”

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