Bombay High Court allows 24-week pregnant woman to undergo MTP

Bombay High Court allows 24-week pregnant woman to undergo MTP

Court gave the nod to abortion as foetus suffers from microcephaly, which will impact baby's neurological development

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, May 30, 2023, 10:48 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has allowed a 24 weeks pregnant woman to undergo medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) following a report from the medical committee, which said that the foetus suffers from microcephaly (a condition where a baby's head is much smaller than expected) due to which the baby's neurological development can be affected.

Last week, the court had formed a medical committee comprising experts from the JJ Group of Hospitals to examine the woman and submit a report. The committee opined that it is “a fit case for MTP”, which bears the same risks and consequences as that of delivery at term.

Rights of a woman in matters relating to reproductive decisions

On May 29, a division bench of Chief Justice RD Dhanuka and Justice Girish Kulkarni allowed the married woman to undergo MTP, citing a Supreme Court judgment which had made significant observations in the context of the rights of a woman and more particularly in matters relating to reproductive decisions.

“The decision to have or not to have an abortion is borne out of complicated life circumstances, which only the woman can choose on her own terms without external interference or influence. Reproductive autonomy requires that every pregnant woman has the intrinsic right to choose to undergo or not to undergo abortion without any consent or authorisation from a third party,” said the HC while citing the apex court judgment.

As per the committee, microcephaly is associated with mental retardation, intellectual disability, seizures, cerebral palsy, hearing and vision deficit. “We are clearly of the opinion that this is a fit case where we ought to permit the petitioner to undergo MTP,” said the court.

In case the child is born alive, the doctor who conducts the procedure will ensure that all necessary medical facilities are made available for saving the child's life, it added.

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