Supreme Court allows Kolkata woman to terminate her foetus, due to abnormalities

A Kolkata resident, who found out that her foetus had an abnormality in her 20th week of pregnancy had filed a petition in the Supreme Court, to allow her to abort the child.  While hearing the petition on the June 23, the SC observed that, the abortion law should be stretched beyond 20 weeks  

abnormality, abortion, complex cardiac condition, gynaecologist, health ministry, Medical Termination of Pregnancy, MTP Act, National Commission of Women, Nikhil Datar, paediatric cardiac surgeon, Supreme Court, uro-gynaecologist

In a landmark judgment, in what is being considered as a ray of hope for a pregnant woman, the Supreme Court on Monday allowed a Kolkata woman, to terminate her 25 plus week foetus that is suffering from a severe cardiac abnormality.

Doctors, who are advocating stretching the abortion limit from 20 weeks to 24 weeks, have welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. This judgment is a big relief for those who are waiting for termination of their pregnancy post 20 weeks.

While ruling in favour of the Kolkata woman, the Supreme Court relied on the report submitted by medical board of SSKM hospital, Kolkata. The board in their report stated, that the mother is likely to suffer severe mental injury, if the pregnancy is continued and the child is likely to undergo number of tests for the cardiac abnormality.

In India, Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 does not allow abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Gynaecologists to women lawmakers: Raise voice against 20-weeks abortion ban
Dr Nikhil Datar, Medical Director at Cloudnine Hospital

Dr Nikhil Datar, a Mumbai based gynaecologist had helped the Kolkata resident to make her plea to the Supreme Court. This is the ninth case where Dr Datar has helped a mother to reach out to the Supreme Court.

Terming the Supreme Court’s judgment as a great victory for women in India, Dr Nikhil Datar said, “I am extremely relieved to hear that the woman from Kolkata, who had petitioned in the Supreme Court for terminating her 25 plus weeks pregnancy, in which her baby had been diagnosed with a complicated heart problem has been allowed to terminate pregnancy”

The Kolkata resident had found out that her foetus had an abnormality in 20th week of her pregnancy had filed a petition in the Supreme Court, which would allow her to abort the child. While hearing the petition on the last date of hearing, the Supreme Court had observed that, the abortion law should be stretched beyond 20 weeks.

The court on 23rd June, had observed that the abortion law should be stretched beyond 20 weeks.

The National Commission of Women (NCW) had also 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 proposed an amendment to the present MTP act.