Foetus has fundamental right to live, says Supreme Court; rejects plea for termination of over 27-week pregnancy : The Tribune India

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Foetus has fundamental right to live, says Supreme Court; rejects plea for termination of over 27-week pregnancy

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, the upper limit for termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks

Foetus has fundamental right to live, says Supreme Court; rejects plea for termination of over 27-week pregnancy

Photo for representational purpose only. iStock



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15

Noting that the foetus in the womb has a fundamental right to live, the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a 20-year-old unmarried woman’s petition seeking termination of her over 27-week pregnancy.

“The child in the womb also has a fundamental right to live. What do you say about that?” a Bench led by Justice BR Gavai asked while hearing the woman’s petition challenging the Delhi High Court’s May 3 order refusing to allow termination of her pregnancy.

“We can’t pass any order contrary to the statute,” said the Bench which also included Justice SVN Bhatti and Justice Sandeep Mehta.

The woman’s counsel said the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act talked about the mother only and not the foetus. “It (MTP Act) is made for mothers,” the counsel said.

“What about the right of the child to survive? How do you address that?” the Bench asked.

The counsel said the foetus was in the womb and till the child was delivered, it’s the right of the mother.

“The petitioner at this stage is under severe traumatic conditions. She can’t come outside either. She is taking classes for the NEET exam. She is under a highly traumatic condition. She can’t face the society at this stage,” he said, requesting the Bench to consider her mental and physical well-being.

“Sorry,” the Bench said, pointing out that the duration of pregnancy was over seven months now.

Earlier, a medical board of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had said that there was no congenital abnormality in the foetus nor was there any danger to the mother to carry on with the pregnancy which will mandate termination of the foetus.

“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 High Court had said.

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. In exceptional cases where the mother’s life is in danger or the foetus is abnormal, the 24-week time limit can be breached.

 

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