Supreme Court nod to abort 24-week foetus without kidneys

Supreme Court nod to abort 24-week foetus without kidneys

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Supreme Court nod to abort 24-week foetus without kidneys

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed a 22-year-old woman to terminate her 24-week pregnancy.

The woman, from Navi Mumbai, approached the apex court to terminate her pregnancy when she found out that the foetus did not have kidneys and had low chances of surviving after birth. According to KEM’s medical board, constituted by the SC, the foetus was at “risk of intrauterine fetal death or still birth with no chance of long-term post natal survival, and no curative treatment is available at present for bilateral rengal agenesis”.

Barely a month and a half into the new year, the SC has presided over two cases of Medical Termination of Pregnancy after the 20-week deadline prescribed in the MTP Act, 1971.

Dr Nikhil Datar, the doctor treating the woman, approached the court on her behalf. However, while allowing her application, which was similar to another order passed by this court in January, the bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and L Nageshwara Rao said that if such cases crop up in the future, the woman concerned should also present herself before the court. “We might note that a relator action may not be permitted in a case of this kind.

There would be various circumstances about which the court must be given assurances for before an order is made,” the apex court said.

According to the MTP Act, an abortion is allowed only up to 20 weeks of gestation. Mothers who want to abort the foetus beyond this deadline are permitted to do so only if ‘the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health’.

However, keeping pace with the changing times, the new MTP amendment draft Bill 2014,

which is yet to be passed, plans to extend the cut-off for abortions to 24 weeks.

Last month, the SC had allowed another Mumbai resident to terminate her pregnancy at 24 weeks after it was found that her foetus’ skull had failed to develop.