The Karnataka High Court has allowed a plea filed by a 32-year-old woman seeking to terminate her 25 week pregnancy, due to anomalies in the foetus. Currently, section 3 (2) (b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, bars abortion after 20th week of pregnancy.
Justice B M Shyam Prasad while allowing the plea said "In the light of the law as regards the right of a pregnant woman to medically terminate her pregnancy to preserve her own life against all dangers, the fact that the petitioner immediately after coming to know about the anomalies in the growth of the foetus and the consequential difficulties if the baby is born has obtained multiple opinions, and the unanimous medical opinions that it would be advisable for the petitioner to medically terminate the pregnancy, and in view of the opinion of the Expert Committee, this Court is of the considered view that the petition should be allowed permitting the petitioner to medically terminate the pregnancy subject to terms."
The woman in her plea claimed that in the 22nd week of pregnancy she underwent ultrasound tests to ensure that the fetus was healthy. The ultrasound scan revealed Congenital Pulmonary Airway Malformation with evolving Hydorps and Polyhydramnious. She secured a second opinion with M/s Kids Clinic India Private Limited (Cloudnine). She is advised the lungs of the fetus have not developed properly, there is no blood supply to the intestine and there was an abnormality in the heart. The Doctors have also opined that the baby would not survive on delivery and therefore the pregnancy has to be medically terminated.
On April 24, the high court directed the constitution of an expert committee 'Expert Committee' to examine the petitioner and submit a report. The Expert Committee has affirmed that the petitioner is in the 25th week of pregnancy and the presence the presence of Fetal Ascites and Heterotaxy Syndrome, Multiple Anechoic Cystic areas and the likely CCAM -2.The final opinion of the Expert Committee is that If the baby is born at term are preterm outcome would be worse due to congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation and detel ascites. However if the patient and the family feels the mental trauma of delivering such a baby, the option of termination of pregnancy could be considered.
Following which the court said the petitioner is permitted to undergo, at her cost, risk and consequence, medical termination of her pregnancy in a hospital of her choice which has the necessary facilities. The concerned doctors shall take necessary measures to ensure the safety of the petitioner's health, but it is observed that the doctors (both private and government doctors) who have put their opinion on record shall have the immunity in the event of any litigation arising out of this petition.
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