The Supreme Court of India rejected on Monday a woman’s request for permission to abort her late-term unborn baby because of physical abnormalities, The Hindu newspaper reports.
Abortions are illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in India. However, women increasingly have been petitioning the high court for permission to abort their unborn babies past the legal limit because their babies were diagnosed with abnormalities.
A medical board that examined the woman in the latest case said her baby may be “born alive,” and the woman’s health is not at risk by continuing the pregnancy.
The report continued:
“We don’t consider it appropriate to direct the petitioner (woman) to terminate the foetus,” the court said.
Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar told the Bench that as per the report of the medical board of the Mumbai-based K E M Hospital, the foetus has severe physical abnormalities but the doctors have not advised termination as she is in her 27th week of pregnancy.
Last year, the high court did give another woman permission to have her late-term unborn baby aborted; she conceived the baby in rape and doctors said the baby had a fatal abnormality, LifeNews reported. The woman argued that her physical and mental health also were at risk.
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Similarly, in 2015, the India Supreme Court gave a 14-year-old rape victim permission to have a late-term abortion. The BBC reported a team of doctors decided the young girl was not fit to have a baby physically or emotionally.
In February, however, the court rejected another woman’s request for a late-term abortion because her unborn baby has Down syndrome. The Free Press Journal reported the high court rejected the woman’s appeal, saying her life was not at risk and her baby should not be aborted simply because of the genetic condition. The woman was 26 weeks pregnant at the time, past the point when her unborn child was viable outside the womb.
“It is sad that the child may suffer from physical and mental challenges and it’s unfortunate for the mother but we can’t allow an abortion…We have a life in our hands,” the court said in the February case.