SC allows Kolkata woman to abort 23-week-old foetus

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The Supreme Court on Monday allowed a woman from Kolkata to abort her 23-weeks pregnancy. The woman wanted to undergo abortion on grounds of foetus abnormality. The bench of Justice Dipak Misra and M Khanwilkar ruled in favour of the woman and said that the abortion should be carried out 'forthwith'.

SC allows to abort more than 23-weeks pregnancy. PTI file photo

"Keeping in view the report of the medical board, we are inclined to allow the prayer and direct medical termination of pregnancy of petitioner no. 1 (woman)," the bench said.

The woman had filed a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the validity of Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, which says pregnancy cannot be terminated after 20 weeks.

She petitioned in the SC after discovering her 23-week-old foetus had a congenital defect. However, by then the petitioner had already crossed the stipulated 20-week mark and was thus unable to abort.

The apex court sought the Centre's intervention on this petition as delay in amending the MTP Act to allow women to abort terminally ill foetuses.

In the last five years, the SC has dealt with several requests seeking permission to terminate 23-week-old foetus which has a congenital defect.

A 2014 bill proposed to extend the legally permissible period of termination to 24 weeks.

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