26-week MTP only if doctors say baby won’t be born alive: Bombay HC | India News


MUMBAI: In an unusual and conditional order, the Bombay HC permitted a woman to medically terminate her 26 weeks pregnancy only if the doctors confirm that the baby may not be born alive after the procedure.
“In case the doctors are of the opinion that the baby may not be born alive at the time of terminating pregnancy, the petitioner is permitted to terminate the pregnancy,” the bench directed on Friday.
The woman (21) had moved the HC as her case does not fall under categories of women eligible under MTP (Amendment), 2021, from 20 to 24 weeks. Her pregnancy was a result of a consensual act and due to failure of a contraceptive device.
The JJ Hospital medical board’s September 8 report said there was no abnormality in the fetus or in her. It said pregnancy was 27 weeks and termination at “this stage will result in a pre-term viable baby requiring intensive care management.”
On September 13, the HC directed the board to re-examine her on the length of pregnancy, noticing a discrepancy between the sonography report and its opinion.
Its September 15 report said she was 25.4 weeks pregnant and reiterated the opinion.
But the woman’s advocate Aditi Saxena referred to an explanation to the section (of MTP Act) permitting termination where the pregnancy is due to failure of contraceptive device or method. She argued that the board was expected to opine only to the extent of anguish caused to the woman by such pregnancy and no more.
Justices Sanjay Gangapurwala and RM Laddha said they would certainly, without any hesitation, permit MTP as it is on account of failure of a contraceptive device and though the prayer is made by an unwed mother and is a result of consensual act. They added that they “are only concerned” with the board’s opinion that it would result in a pre-term viable baby.
“The baby born will have to be taken care of and it should not happen that the baby is born with some deformity due to premature termination of pregnancy,” they added.
The judges said if it is not a case where the baby is born alive, then there is no problem in allowing MTP. “We understand the trauma that the petitioner, an unwed mother, would undergo. At the same time, it cannot be lost sight of an alive baby being born and the consequences it would have on the baby if it is prematurely terminated,” they concluded, and passed the order.





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