Delhi HC allows terminating 25-week pregnancy
The plea challenged the constitutional validity of section 3 (2) (b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP) restricted to the ceiling of 20 weeks stipulated therein.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court allowed a woman's plea seeking termination of pregnancy in the 28th week, after taking AIIMS expert doctors' panel opinion in this regard.
The woman sought termination after a medical report stated that the fetus suffered from anencephaly (skull bone not formed) thereby making it incompatible with life.
The Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh allowed the woman's plea to terminate her fetus suffering from anencephaly, a condition where the skull bone is not formed.
Last week, the bench had referenced the matter to AIIMS for the opinion of the expert doctors penal. The court had asked AIIMS to constitute a doctors' panel to examine the medical condition of the petitioner as the fetus being carried by her is suffering from serious abnormalities.
According to the petition, it has challenged the constitutional validity of section 3 (2) (b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP) restricted to the ceiling of 20 weeks stipulated therein.
"This challenge is to the effect that the 20 weeks stipulation for a woman to avail of abortion services under section 3(2) (b) may have been reasonable when the section was enacted in 1971 but has ceased to be reasonable today where technology has advanced and it is perfectly safe for a woman to abort at any point during the entire period of pregnancy," the plea said.
"Secondly, determination of fetal abnormality in many cases can only be done after the 20th week and by keeping the ceiling artificially low, women who obtain reports of serious fetal abnormality after the 20th week have to suffer excruciating pain and agony because of the deliveries that they are forced to go through. The ceiling of 20 weeks is therefore arbitrary, harsh, discriminatory and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India," it added.
The plea also added that the woman's physical and mental health has been put at serious risk because of the 20-week time limit in Section 2(b) of the MTP Act.
"It was during an ultra-sonography at the gestational age of 25 weeks conducted on the petitioner that it was discovered that the fetus suffered from Bilateral Renal Agenesis (both kidneys absent) thereby making it incompatible with life... However, petitioner had crossed the 20 weeks mark and medical termination of pregnancy under the MTP Act restricts medical termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks," it said.