In less than a month, second woman from Mumbai has approached the Supreme Court (SC) with a plea to abort her unborn child diagnosed with a serious developmental defect that is incompatible to life. It means the child will not survive after birth.
On Friday, while hearing her plea, SC ordered KEM Hospital to evaluate the woman and submit its medical report. “Our medical team will evaluate her tomorrow and will submit the reports to the SC,” informed Dr Avinash Supe, dean of KEM Hospital.
The 24-year-old woman found about the abnormality in her 21st week of pregnancy and approached Dr Nikhil Datar, medical director and gynaecologist at Cloud Nine hospital.
This is the second woman approaching SC for abortion because of severe abnormalities in the foetus in last one month and third in last one year.
The 24-year-old woman had approached the Apex court after sonography reports showed that her unborn child has bilateral renal agenesis (complete absence of kidneys in the foetus) making it difficult for the baby’s independent survival after birth.
“Kidney’s role is to remove the toxins out of the body. In its absence, the toxins will build up in the body and lead to the person’s death. Presently, it is the mother’s system helping to remove the toxins out the foetus. But once the child is delivered, independent existence of the child will be difficult,” said Datar.
In India, the Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 does not allow abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The National Commission of Women (NCW) had recommended to the union health ministry that abortions till the 24 week of pregnancy should be allowed. After which, in 2014, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare department proposed amendment to 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.
As per the draft law, for which the ministry had sought public comments in 2014, the decision to allow abortion between 20 and 24 weeks can be taken “in good faith” by a healthcare provider if, among other conditions, the pregnancy involves substantial risks to the mother or child, or if it is “alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape”.
The amendment to the bill have yet to be ratified by the legislature and made into a law.
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