HC refuses to allow termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks

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Mumbai, Aug 4 (UNI) In a landmark judgement, Bombay High Court today refused to grant permission for termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks after rejecting a petition filed by a couple, seeking an amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act by allowing abortion of a 25=week foetus, diagnosed with an heart ailment.

A division bench, consisting of Justice J N Patel and Justice K K Tatde, in their order, questioned that once there is life can you kill it?, saying that the report submitted by medical experts of goverment-run J J hospital did not indicate that child will have abnormalities.

The court passed the order in response to a petition filed by a Mumbai gynaecologist, Dr Nikhil Datar, and the teacher couple who identified themselves in court papers as only Mr X and Mrs Y.

Earlier, the court had sought the report from the medical experts but apparently finding it confusing, it sought a second opnion.

The second opnion, which was tabled today before the bench, indicated that there is a low posibility that the child will be handicapped.

During the hearing of the petition, the court was informed that petitioner, Mrs Y, 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.

Gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Datar, had argued that some ailments in the foetus are detected only between the 20th and the 24th week of pregnancy.

However, according to the current law, pregnancy cannot be terminated beyond 20 weeks.

Considering the fact that an abortion at this advanced stage is illegal, the medical practitioners refused to abort the child.

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