HC admits plea challenging Termination of Pregnancy Act

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Mumbai, Jul 30 (UNI) The Bombay High Court has admitted a petition, challenging the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and adjourned its hearing till August 1 while asking the government Medical experts to give their opinion on it.

Admitting the petition yesterday, a division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice K K Tatde directed a committee of doctors to examine a 25-week pregnant woman and admit her for termination of pregnancy.

The court gave the direction during the hearing on the plea moved by a couple who reside at Bhayendar in Thane district, identifying themselves in court papers only as Mr X and Mrs Y. The woman, who is 25 weeks pregnant, has urged the court to allow the abortion after they discovered that their unborn child suffers from a congenital heart condition, since according to the current law, pregnancy cannot be terminated beyond 20 weeks.

The petition, beside challenging the Act, had also sought permission to amend the MTP Act, regarding termination of pregnancy in exceptional cases beyond the stipulated period if the mother faces a fatal risk.

The woman, who is expecting her first child, found out only in the twenty-fourth week of her pregnancy that the foetus had a congenital heart block. Doctors told her that the child would need a pacemaker right from the time of birth and the quality of its life would be poor.

During the hearing, their gynaecologist Nikhil Datar, who has also intervened in the petition, told the Court that some ailments in the foetus are detected only between the 20th and the 24th week of pregnancy. However, an abortion at this advanced stage is illegal, and hence medical practitioners refused to abort the child.

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