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Latest NewsTermination of 26-week pregnancy: 'We can’t kill the child', says Supreme Court

Termination of 26-week pregnancy: ‘We can’t kill the child’, says Supreme Court


New Delhi, Oct 12 : Noting that there are rights of an unborn child, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked a 27-year-old married woman seeking to terminate her 26-week pregnancy to reconsider her decision.

A three-judge Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati and the woman's advocate to talk to her and persuade her to carry the pregnancy for a few more weeks so that the child isn't born with deformities—physical and mental.

As Bhati submitted that the AIIMS medical board had claimed that the foetus had a viable chance of being born and they would have to conduct a foeticide, the Bench made it clear that it won't direct the doctors to “stop the fetal heartbeat”.

“We can't kill the child,” said the Bench – which also included Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra, posting the matter for further hearing tomorrow.

The matter came to the three-judge Bench after two woman judges of the Supreme Court on Wednesday delivered a split verdict on the woman's petition seeking termination of her 26-week pregnancy after the Centre sought recall of their unanimous verdict allowing the woman to get her foetus aborted.

A Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice BV Nagarathna—which had on Monday allowed termination of the woman's pregnancy – heard the matter again on Wednesday after the Centre sought recall of the order on the ground that the AIIMS doctors—who examined the petitioner woman—were of the opinion that the foetus had a chance of being born.

While Justice Kohli was against termination of pregnancy, Justice BV Nagarathna stuck to her original decision, saying the woman had remained determined to abort it.

Despite AIIMS doctors saying that the foetus had a chance of being born, the petitioner woman—a mother of two – insisted that she wanted to terminate her pregnancy.

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, the upper limit for termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks for married women, special categories including survivors of rape and other vulnerable women such as those differently-abled and minors. Since the petitioner had crossed the statutory 24-week period, she had to move the court for permission to terminate her pregnancy.

On Monday, the Bench of Justice Kohli and Justice Nagarathna had allowed termination of pregnancy of the woman. But the Centre on Tuesday sought recall of the order, saying the AIIMS doctors were of the opinion that the foetus had a chance of being born.

However, a Bench-led by the CJI had on Tuesday asked the All Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to defer the procedure after doctors said the foetus has a chance of being born.

Earlier, Justice Kohli-led Bench had allowed the mother of two children to proceed with the medical termination of her pregnancy after she claimed that she was suffering from postpartum depression and was not in a position to raise a third child – both emotionally and financially.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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