India Woman Seeking Late-Term Abortion For Disabled Baby Delivers Stillborn
by Steven Ertelt
August 14, 2008
Bombay, India (LifeNews.com) — A woman in India who caused a national controversy with her request for a late-term abortion on a baby who was supposedly physically disabled has delivered a stillborn child. The baby was supposedly diagnosed with a heart defect that prompted the woman and her husband to seek an abortion.
The Bombay High Court decided against her request to violate India’s laws prohibiting late-term abortions after a panel of physicians weighed in on the case.
The doctors said further examinations showed no abnormalities in the 26-week-old unborn baby, though there is some question as to whether that’s the case.
The nation prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The woman’s husband, Haresh, told the Associated Press on Thursday that the baby was delivered stillborn.
"Niketa was under a lot of stress. She was upset and tired," he said. "Although we are in pain at the loss, God spared our child a life of agony."
However, Niketa and Harsh Mehta have received numerous offers to adopt the baby following the birth if they would continue the pregnancy full-term.
Also, the CEO of Jaslok hospital, Colonel M Masand, said the medical center would give the family a free pacemaker for the infant if they give birth to the child, and will pay for the cost of the surgery.
Justices RMS Khandeparkar and Amjad Sayed cited the recommendations by the doctors in their decision.
There is no medical evidence on record to say that he will be handicapped after birth, they wrote in their decision. The petitioners have not made out that this lady’s case is exceptional for us to use discretionary powers."
They said they would not have allowed the abortion even if the request came before the 20-week period considered the earliest an unborn child could survive outside the womb.
The couple had claimed at least one doctor indicated the baby would be born with a congenital heart block. They said the baby would need a pacemaker to regulate her heart from the time of birth and they couldn’t afford one.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, offered to adopt the baby.
"We have offered to adopt the baby and ensure that it is bought up well and the mother need not have any concern on that score. The Church very clearly takes a clear and strong stand about the abortion. We are totally against it," Gracias told PTI.
The judges also said they couldn’t change the current India law on abortions, known as the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. The law prohibits abortions beyond 20 weeks into pregnancy unless the mother’s life is at risk from it.
It is the job of the legislature to help you alter the provision. We can not legislate the provision," they said, according to a NI Wire report.
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