The Delhi High Court on Tuesday allowed a plea seeking permission for termination of pregnancy for a woman who was 33 weeks pregnant, due to the foetus suffering from a cerebral deformity.
According to ANI, the High Court passed the direction after perusing a report from the medical board and hearing submissions of expert doctors.
On Monday, Justice Prathiba M Singh, while clarifying that she was not taking any view at the moment, also expressed her “ethical concern” in the matter and pondered upon the use of technology to detect any abnormalities in a foetus and thus, have only “perfect children”.
“There is one ethical concern that the court is thinking of and that is with technology. It is actually very easy to detect a number of abnormalities as of today. We are now almost talking of a full-term pregnancy (in this case),” the court said on Monday.
“So I am not taking any view either way but I am just saying that are we looking at a society which only has perfect children…If the means are provided, should the parents then have the choice of not having the child at all,” the court questioned.
After hearing the petitioner as well as her husband and the doctors concerned, the court had said it would pass an order on Tuesday morning. The court also heard the lawyers appearing for the parties.
The 26-year-old woman had approached the high court last week after the GTB Hospital declined her request for termination of pregnancy. The current gestational age of the petitioner was beyond the permissible limit, which is 24 weeks as per the amended Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which came into effect from September 24, 2021.
The medical board constituted by Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital to examine the case said in its report that while the foetus, once born, would be “compatible with life”, the degree of any disability due to the abnormality cannot be predicted and ultimately opined against medical termination of pregnancy in the present case.
The doctors present in the court through virtual mode said that the “quality of life” of the foetus cannot be commented upon and after being born, surgery can be conducted on the baby.
The counsel for the petitioner said the right to life is to live with dignity and not as a vegetable, and if the foetus is born with disabilities, the petitioner and her husband, not being people of means, would be in anguish.
According to a report by news agency PTI, the plea, filed through advocate Anwesh Madhukar and Prachi Nirwan, has submitted that the limitation as provided under the MTP Act, which is 20/24 weeks, is not applicable to the petitioner’s case since the foetus borne by her carries substantial cerebral abnormalities, as a result of which grave mental injury is being caused to her.
On Friday, the petitioner had said during her ultrasounds till the 16th week of the gestation period, no abnormalities were found in the foetus but on November 12, an abnormality was observed.
(With inputs from agencies)