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SC rejects request to terminate pregnancy over 27 weeks, says fetus has fundamental right to live

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to consider the plea of ​​a 20-year-old unmarried woman seeking termination of her pregnancy of more than 27 weeks, saying the fetus in the womb also has the fundamental right to live. A bench headed by Justice BR Gavai passed the order while hearing the woman’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court’s May 3 order refusing to allow termination of her pregnancy.

“We cannot pass any order contrary to law,” the bench, also comprising Justices SVN Bhatti and Sandeep Mehta, told his lawyer. “The child in the womb also has a fundamental right to life. What do you say?” the court asked.

The woman’s lawyer said the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) law only talks about the mother. “It’s made for mom,” he said.

The court said the duration of the pregnancy was now more than seven months. “What about the child’s right to survive? How do you approach that?” » asked the bench.

The lawyer said the fetus is in the womb and until the child is born, it is the mother’s right. “At this stage, the petitioner is in a severe traumatic state. She also cannot go out. She is taking classes for the NEET exam. She is in a highly traumatic state. She cannot face the society at this point,” he said.

The lawyer argued that his mental and physical well-being must be considered. “Sorry,” the bench said.

In its May 3 order, the High Court had noted that on April 25, the court had directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to constitute a medical board to check the condition of the fetus and the petitioner.

“Reading the report (of the medical committee) shows that there is no congenital abnormality in the fetus and that there is no danger for the mother to continue the pregnancy which would require abortion of the fetus,” the High Court said.

“Since the fetus is viable and normal, and there is no danger for the applicant to continue her pregnancy, feticide would be neither ethical nor legally permitted,” he said. Before the High Court, the applicant said that on April 16 she felt discomfort in her abdomen and underwent an ultrasound which showed she was 27 weeks pregnant, which was beyond of the legally permitted limit of 24 weeks.

Under the MTP Act, termination of pregnancy lasting more than 24 weeks may be permitted in cases of significant fetal abnormality diagnosed by a medical board or if an opinion is formed in good faith with the aim of saving life of the pregnant woman.


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