Delhi HC asks AIIMS to examine case of woman seeking abortion of ''abnormal'' fetus
New Delhi - The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked AIIMS to examine a woman seeking to abort her 23-week-old fetus as the unborn child has various abnormalities and to submit its report by next week on risks the procedure entails.
The order was passed by a bench of justices J R Midha and Jyoti Singh on the woman's plea which stated that ultrasound tests showed that the fetus has serious medical complications for which the baby would have to undergo multiple surgeries after birth.
Even with the surgeries, chances of the baby's survival are slim and the woman and her husband decided to terminate the pregnancy after consulting various medical experts, the plea stated.
According to the petition, the fetus has "echogenic bowel and hepatic calcification, a condition associated with increased risk of aneuploidy, fetal cystic fibrosis, bowel obstruction and other infections".
The court also issued a notice to the Centre, Delhi government and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) seeking their stand on the woman's plea, which also challenges the constitutional vires of certain provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act that do not permit abortion of a fetus after 20 weeks unless there is a threat to the mother's life.
The petition, filed through advocate Vikas Walia, said that abnormalities in the fetus are usually detected only after 20 weeks and by then it''s too late to terminate the pregnancy.
Central government''s standing counsel Rajesh Gogna told the court that in the past, in such matters, first a medical board examined the case and based on its report the court passed an order.
He also told the court that a bill for amending the MTP Act to permit termination of pregnancy up to 24 weeks has been passed in Lok Sabha and is pending before Rajya Sabha.
After hearing all sides, the bench asked AIIMS to set up a medical board to examine the woman and submit its report by April 20, the next date of hearing.
It said the board will examine whether continuing with the pregnancy would be risky for the mother, physically and mentally, and also whether terminating it would cause any medical complications.
"Further directions will be issued based on the report submitted by AIIMS," the bench said.