Supreme Court rejects plea of mother of 2 to terminate over 26-week pregnancy

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of India. Photo: AFP

New Delhi: The Supreme Court declined to permit the termination of over 26-week pregnancy of a married woman, a mother of two,  as the foetus was healthy. The AIIMS medical board found no abnormality with it.

A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said the length of pregnancy has crossed 24 weeks, the upper limit for allowing Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP), and therefore it cannot be permitted.
The top court said the foetus is 26 weeks and 5 days old and there is no immediate threat to the mother. There was also no foetal abnormality, it said.

"The length of the pregnancy has crossed 24 weeks and it is approximately 26 weeks and 5 days old. The medical termination of the pregnancy cannot be permitted," the bench, also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misa said.

The top court had said earlier in the day that the challenge to pregnancy termination law would be dealt with in separate proceedings, and the present case would be limited to the issue between the petitioner and the State.
The apex court had earlier sought a report from the AIIMS medical board on whether the foetus was suffering from any abnormality.

The bench was hearing arguments on the Centre's application seeking recall of the apex court's October 9 order permitting the 27-year-old woman, a mother of two, to undergo termination of pregnancy at AIIMS as she was suffering from post-partum psychosis after the birth of her second child.

Under the MTP Act, the upper limit for the termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks for married women, special categories including survivors of rape, and other vulnerable women such as the differently-abled and minors.

The apex was faced with a conundrum over whether to allow the woman to terminate her 26-week pregnancy. The moral dilemma stemmed from what the court said about the rights of the unborn child and the woman's right to her bodily autonomy.

The issue arose after one of the doctors of the AIIMS medical board, which examined the woman and filed a report dated October 6 in the apex court, sent an e-mail on October 10 saying the foetus had a strong possibility of survival.

The matter came up before the CJI-led bench after a two-judge bench on Wednesday gave a split verdict on the Centre's plea for recall of its October 9 order granting permission to the woman to terminate her pregnancy.

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