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Updated February 6th, 2024 at 08:24 IST

Delhi HC Rejects Unmarried Woman’s Plea to Abort 28-week Foetus

The petitioner, an unmarried female student, sought a direction to AIIMS to abort the 28-week foetus

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pregnant woman
While dismissing the petition, Justice Prasad noted that the petitioner is already seven months pregnant with a healthy and viable foetus. | Image:Shutterstock / Representative
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New Delhi: A 20-year-old student in Delhi has been denied permission to medically terminate her 28-week pregnancy which was consensual. While giving judgement, the court noted that the case does not fall under the guidelines and Rules of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.

The petitioner, an unmarried female student,  sought a direction to AIIMS to abort the 28-week foetus. While dismissing the petition, Justice Prasad noted that the petitioner is already seven months pregnant with a healthy and viable foetus.

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"The prayer sought for by the petitioner for a direction to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for premature termination of pregnancy /delivery of the child cannot be acceded to by this Court since the case of the petitioner does not fall within the four corners of the MTP Act and the Rules framed thereunder which hold the field," Justice Prasad held in the judgement.

The bench observed, "The petitioner's case is also not covered by the guidelines dated August 6, 2018, on which the Petitioner places reliance." "According to these guidelines relied upon by the petitioner, medical termination of pregnancy even beyond 24 weeks is permitted only in cases of minor girls who are rape victims or when there are congenital abnormalities in the foetus," the bench noted.

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The court said that Since the present case does not fall under any of the categories, this Court is not inclined to accept the prayer of the Petitioner of foeticide. However, the High court said that If the petitioner wants to approach AIIMS for delivery and the future course of action, it is always open for the petitioner to approach the AIIMS and this Court is sure that AIIMS , being a premier institute, would render all facilities and advise the petitioner with regard to her pregnancy.

If the petitioner is inclined to give the new born child to adoption, then the petitioner is at liberty to approach the Union of India and the Union of India is directed to ensure that the process of adoption takes place at the earliest and in a smooth fashion, the court said. While dismissing the petition, the High court also considered the medical report filed by AIIMS . The court said that a perusal of the report shows that there is no congenital abnormality in the foetus nor any danger to the mother to carry on with the pregnancy which will mandate termination of the foetus.

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"Since the foetus is viable and normal, and there is no danger to the Petitioner to carry on with the pregnancy, foeticide would neither be ethical nor legally permissible. The Petitioner would have to be induced for delivering the child and such delivery could be detrimental to the mental and physical health of the newborn since it would be a pre-term delivery. It could also be detrimental to the mother for her future pregnancies," the High Court said.

The Petitioner had approached the High Court through advocate Amit Mishra seeking directions for permitting medical termination of her ongoing pregnancy of 28 weeks under the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and the Rules framed thereunder. It was stated that on January 25, 2024, the Petitioner had visited a Diagnostic Centre for an ultrasound scan. During the course of it, it came to her knowledge that she is 27 weeks pregnant and it was informed to her that the due date for delivery is April 25, 2024.

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It was further stated that prior to the conduct of ultrasound scan, the Petitioner had not found any symptoms of pregnancy and that she had not shown any bodily symptoms usually indicating pregnancy. It was contended by advocate Dr. Amit Mishra that carrying the pregnancy will cause grave injury to the Petitioner's physical and mental health. It was also pointed out that the Petitioner is a student and is unmarried, without any source of income and that there will be social stigma and harassment associated with her continuing the pregnancy which would jeopardize her career and thereby her future. 

(With ANI inputs)
 

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Published February 6th, 2024 at 08:24 IST

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