A woman carrying an unborn baby with disabilities asked an Indian high court for permission to have a late-term abortion Thursday.
India TV News reports the woman, 32, is 24-weeks pregnant, and her unborn child has shown signs of brain abnormalities.
On Thursday, she asked Calcutta Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty to grant her an exception to the country’s late-term abortion ban, according to the report.
Abortions are illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in India. However, women and families increasingly have been petitioning the high court for permission to abort late-term unborn babies because of rape or fetal abnormalities.
The woman’s lawyer, Amitabha Ghosh, told the judge that a doctor recommended the abortion in late December after determining that the unborn baby’s condition was deteriorating.
Reports are not clear about whether the baby’s condition may be fatal, but, at 24 weeks, unborn babies are viable outside the womb.
Before the judge makes a decision, the woman likely will be examined by a medical board, which then will submit a recommendation to the judge based on her and her unborn baby’s conditions. According to the report, another hearing is slated for Friday.
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In December, another Indian court granted a rape victim’s petition for a late-term abortion, despite doctors’ warnings about serious risks to the teen’s health. The Hindustan Times reported the 16-year-old rape victim and her father asked the Delhi High Court for permission to have a late-term abortion. She was 22-weeks pregnant, past the abortion cutoff.
A late-term abortion is a very risky, multiple day procedure that can kill the mother as well as her unborn baby.
In the past, courts in India have refused abortion petitions when unborn babies had conditions that are not fatal, such as Down syndrome. In early 2018, a Bombay court rejected a woman’s request for an abortion at 31 weeks because doctors said it was too risky.
LifeNews Note: Image depicts unborn baby at 24 weeks.