The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to allow a 20-year-old unmarried woman to terminate her pregnancy of 28 weeks, holding that the foetus was “completely viable” and “foeticide cannot be permitted”.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act permits aborting a foetus at a maximum of 24 weeks. In case of substantial foetal abnormalities, subject to the permission of a medical board, termination can be done even after 24 weeks.
“This court is not going to permit termination of pregnancy at 28 weeks. I am not going to allow it for a completely viable foetus of 28 weeks. In the report, I can’t see any abnormality in the foetus. Foeticide cannot be permitted,” the judge said.
In her plea, the woman submitted she was in a consensual relationship and had come to know of her pregnancy only recently. Advocate Amit Mishra, representing the woman, said she learnt about it on January 25 when she was already 27 weeks pregnant.
She consulted doctors in order to terminate the pregnancy since she was not in a condition to bear the child, but they refused as it was beyond the 24-week period allowed under the MTP Act, the lawyer said.
The lawyer said nobody in her family knew about her pregnancy, and since she was unmarried, her case should be considered for MTP.
He urged the court to direct the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi to medically examine the woman to ascertain her mental and physical condition as also how the foetus was doing.
The court, however, refused to consider the prayer.
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