SC Allows 22 Yr Woman To Abort 24-Week Pregnancy [Read Order]

Citing a medical board report, the Supreme Court today allowed a 22-year-old woman to terminate her 24-weeks pregnancy on the ground that it would endanger her life.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nagesewara Rao perused the opinion of the medical board it had constituted to examine her health condition.

The bench said in view of the opinion of Mumbai-based King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital’s medical board, it will be appropriate to allow the woman to terminate her pregnancy.

“The foetus, besides suffering various anomalies, has shrunken lungs and lacks kidneys and continuing with the pregnancy would endanger the life of the mother”, the report said.

“This Court in that case relied upon the case of Suchita Srivastava and Anr. vs. Chandigarh Administration [(2009) 9 SCC 1], where a bench of three Judges held “a woman’s right to make reproductive choices is also a dimension of ‘personal liberty’ as understood under Article 21 of the Constitution”. In these circumstances we find that the right of bodily integrity calls for a permission to allow her to terminate her pregnancy. The report of the Medical Board clearly warrants the inference that the continuance of the pregnancy involves the risk to the life of the petitioner and a possible grave injury to her physical or mental health as required by Section 3 (2)(i) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.”

The Petition, which was heard by the bench on February 3, the bench constituted a seven-member medical board comprising senior doctors from KEM Hospital, Mumbai, and directed it to examine the petitioner, and submit a report about her condition and advisability of permitting a medical termination of pregnancy, forthwith.

In a separate case, the apex court had on January 16 allowed a Mumbai-based woman, who was in her 24th week of pregnancy, to terminate her pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act while taking into consideration the report of a medical board of KEM Hospital which had suggested that the foetus would not be able to survive without the skull.

Read the order here.

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.

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