India: Court allows woman to terminate 28-week pregnancy over rare disorder

As per medical opinion, the child is not likely to survive beyond one year



By ANI

Published: Sat 8 Jan 2022, 7:22 PM

Last updated: Sat 8 Jan 2022, 8:26 PM

The Delhi High Court has allowed a female to undergo medical termination of 28 weeks pregnancy after taking note of medical opinion which clearly suggests that the foetus is suffering from a rare chromosomal disorder.

Justice Rekha Palli in an order passed on January 7, 2022 said, “No doubt, there are certain risks to the petitioner herself in undergoing the termination of her pregnancy at this stage but when considered in the light of the medical opinion which clearly suggests that the foetus is suffering from a rare chromosomal disorder, the compelling reason for the petitioner female to seek permission to end her pregnancy are not difficult to fathom. The petitioner is also present in person and submits that she has been explained the risks involved in the procedure, court noted.

Justice Palli said, “I have no hesitation in holding that this is a fit case where the petitioner should be granted permission to undergo medical termination of her pregnancy at a medical facility of her choice. However, the same shall be done at her own risk and consequences.”

Court further noted that in the present case if the petitioner is forced to continue with the pregnancy, she will not only constantly live with the fear that the odds of giving birth to a stillborn are very high, but that even if the infant is born alive, she will be raising the child with heavy pain knowing that she could lose the child forever within a few months.

Not to mention that the child will be born with such substantial abnormalities that living a normal life may never be an option, thus causing grave hardship to the child as well as putting the petitioner through extreme amounts of mental, emotional, and even financial distress, the court said.

“It is thus a clear case where, leaving aside the lifelong anguish and trauma which may be caused to the petitioner, the foetus itself suffers from such abnormalities that it clearly falls under the ambit of section 3(2B) of the MTP Act,” said the court.

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The petitioner had moved the Court and sought its permission for medical termination of her pregnancy on the ground that the foetus is suffering not only from Edward Syndrome (Trisomy 18) but also from non-ossified nasal bone and bilateral pyelectasis. In case the pregnancy is taken to its logical conclusion, then as per medical opinion, the child is not likely to survive beyond one year, and that too with continued medical assistance, which will not only cause severe harm to her physical, but mental health as well.

The medical of LNJP Hospital recently after went through all medical check ups, opined that 80 per cent of children born with his syndrome die in the first year itself, and the ones who survive also do not live for more than ten years, and that too with neurodevelopmental delay.

On January 3, 2022, the court after noticing the fact that the petitioner was already at an advanced stage of her pregnancy, directed the LNJP Hospital to constitute a Medical Board at the earliest and submit its report after examining the petitioner and her medical reports.


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