Bombay High Court Permits Minor Survivor To Undergo MTP

Bombay High Court Permits Minor Survivor To Undergo MTP

The Bombay High Court has permitted a 15-year-old survivor, suffering from TB, to undergo medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) following a medical board report which cited risk to the minor’s mental health in case the pregnancy was continued.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Sunday, June 09, 2024, 11:29 AM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has permitted a 15-year-old survivor, suffering from TB, to undergo medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) following a medical board report which cited risk to the minor’s mental health in case the pregnancy was continued.

The court noted that the minor had independent entitlement to make choices about her body. “In our considered view the independent entitlement of minor ‘X’ to make a choice about her body and to exercise it in the form of option for medical termination of her pregnancy, deserves to be respected and thus lends itself to acceptance,” a vacation bench of Justices Kamal Khata and Shyam Chandak said on June 4.

The HC heard a petition by the minor’s mother seeking permission for MTP for her minor daughter since her pregnancy has crossed 27-weeks. As per the MTP Act, permission from the high court is required for the procedure when the pregnancy is more than 24 weeks.

The plea, filed on May 31, stated that the minor was sexually assaulted in December 2023, which resulted in her pregnancy. However, she learnt of her pregnancy recently when she went to a doctor on May 17 for stomach pain.

Her advocate Sameer Khatib submitted that the pregnancy has caused great amount of physical and mental torture as she herself suffers from tuberculosis since last 14 months. “The said ailment would incapacitate her to take care of her unborn child. The poor economic condition has added to that and thus aggravated her said condition,” Khatib submitted.

A medical board was constituted by JJ Hospital pursuant to the high court order. A report submitted by the board on June 2 opined that “as mother is underage and a case of POCSO, carrying unwanted pregnancy to term will cause mental stress to the teenage mother”.

The report underlined that the pregnancy has advanced to 26-28 weeks and bears the same risk and complications for the mother if the pregnancy is continued till term or terminated now.

Considering that the minor is found to be “exposed to the risk of grave psychological injury should the termination not be effected” and that she is found physically fit for the procedure, the high court granted her permission.

“Considering the grave danger to the minor ‘X’ mental health posed by the continuation of pregnancy, as diagnosed by the Medical Board, we are sure Sir J.J. Hospital and its Medical Board would take care to ensure sensitive treatment and handling of the minor ‘X’ in connection with all procedures, whether medical or administrative, keeping her emotional and mental health at the forefront,” the bench added.

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