Delhi High Court Allows a Woman To Terminate Her 25-Week Pregnancy

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The Delhi HC on Monday allowed a woman to terminate her 25-week pregnancy based on a report from AIIMS which stated that the Foetus is suffering from Bilateral Agenesis and Anlyaramni.

“I see no reason to deny permission for medical termination of pregnancy. The petition is therefore allowed” said Justice Navin Chawla.

Earlier the High Court had ordered the AIIMS to constitute a doctor’s panel to examine the medical condition of the petitioner woman as the foetus being carried by her was suffering from serious abnormalities.

In late December, the vacation bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru directed the superintendent, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to constitute a medical board to examine the medical condition of the 25-week pregnant woman for any possibilities of the foetus, not surviving pregnancy.

The AIIMS medical board examined the petitioner and concluded that “the survival of the foetus is unlikely.”

The petitioner, in her plea, said that after she underwent her ultrasonography at the gestational age of 25-weeks it was found that the foetus suffered from Bilateral Agenesis which meant both the kidneys were absent. As a result of which it would be almost impossible for the foetus to survive.

Since the 20-week mark had reached and the termination of pregnancy at this stage was not allowed the woman approached the High Court.

The petitioner through her Advocate Sneha Mukherjee sought directions to permit the woman to undergo an abortion. The council stated that the foetus would not be able to survive till Childs’s Birth as the two kidneys had not developed yet. She added that looking at the circumstances it would be futile to compel the petitioner to go through her full term of pregnancy.

In India, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy act prescribes a limit of 20 weeks beyond which the termination of pregnancy is statutorily impermissible. The above case of the women challenges the constitutional validity of this act which is listed in section 3 (2) (b) of the Medical Termination of the Pregnancy Act, 1971.

In January this year, the union cabinet approved the Medical Termination Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which provides an extension of the upper gestation limit from 20 weeks to 24 weeks for special categories of women. This category of women included survivors of rape, a victim of incest and other vulnerable women like the minors and differently-abled.


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