The woman, who stays in Mumbai, found that her unborn child has abnormalities that are non-compatible to life after she crossed the 20 weeks pregnancy. According to the Section 3 of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 in India, a woman cannot terminate her pregnancy after 20 weeks. Hence, the women approached the SC with the plea to allow them to abort their foetus.
The SC had ordered JJ Hospital to evaluate the woman and submit its medical report. A medical board of five doctors from JJ Hospital had seen the woman and submitted its report on October 5.
In the report submitted to the SC on October 5, the doctors noted that there was no amniotic fluid and suggested that the foetus had multiple dysplastic kidneys- a lethal abnormality for the new-born and non-compatible with life after birth.
Keeping in mind the medical report submitted by JJ Hospital, the SC allowed her to terminate the pregnancy. The other two women’s abortion plea will be heard on Monday as the Court didn’t receive their medical report as yet.
Dr Nikhil Datar, medical director and gynaecologist at Cloudnine hospital, under whose guidance the women had filed the petition said, “The other two women who are awaiting SC’s order, are carrying foetus with life threatening brain abnormalities.” Dr Datar has so far helped more than 14 women approach SC with a similar plea.
The National Commission of Women (NCW) had recommended to the Union Health Ministry that abortions should be allowed till 24-weeks of pregnancy. After which, in 2014, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare department proposed to amend the present MTP act.
The proposed act that will be called- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2014 proposed to increase the abortion limit from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
Meanwhile, on October 3, US House passed a legislation criminalising abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. While it allows exceptions in instances where the life of the mother is in danger, rape and incest, the legislation provides for criminal and civil penalties against doctors or others who perform the procedure, including up to five years in prison.