The Supreme Court today constituted a medical board to examine a woman, who has sought permission to terminate her 22-week-old pregnancy on the grounds that the foetus was suffering from a neurological problem. A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar said the woman should be examined within two days by a medical board, consisting of the heads of the departments of gynaecology, neurology and cardiology of the Mumbai-based JJ Hospital.
The apex court fixed the matter for hearing on July 28 and directed Maharashtra’s standing counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar to present the medical board’s report before it in a sealed cover. During the hearing, the counsel representing the woman argued that she had been examined by a paediatric neurologist who opined that the foetus was suffering from a neurological problem which was likely to aggravate. Quoting the doctor, the counsel said the problem “may increase significantly before the delivery causing harm to the developing brain and possibly cognitive impairment”.
According to the counsel, the doctor also said that after its birth, the infant would require neurosurgical procedure which could be expensive. Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits the abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.