A high court in India granted permission for doctors to abort a nearly full-term unborn baby Thursday after the baby was diagnosed with spina bifida.
The Independent reports the baby’s mother is 35-weeks pregnant, nearly full term. She and her husband recently petitioned the court for permission to have a late-term abortion after learning that their child has spina bifida.
On Thursday, the Calcutta High Court ruled in favor of the couple’s request based on a recommendation from a panel of doctors at the SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, according to the report.
India prohibits abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy. In recent years, however, courts have been granting numerous exceptions to the law for victims of rape and mothers of unborn babies with disabilities.
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In the latest case, doctors told the court that the unborn baby is severely disabled and may not live long.
Justice Rajasekhar Mantha said the court decided to grant permission for the late-term abortion after the doctors explained that the baby probably will never lead a normal life, the report continues.
“Considering the entire gamut of facts and circumstances, this court permits the petitioner to medically terminate her pregnancy at an authorized hospital and/or medical facility,” Mantha said.
Speaking to News 18, the couple’s lawyer suggested the mother’s life also is at risk.
“Who doesn’t want to be a mother? But the decision is based on the danger to the life of the mother and the dark future of the 35-week-old foetus,” the lawyer said.
However, late-term abortions are never necessary to save a mother’s life. Whether a woman gives birth or aborts her late-term unborn baby, she still has to go through labor and delivery. The main difference is that in a late-term abortion, the unborn baby is killed first.
A late-term abortion typically involves injecting a poisonous potassium chloride solution through the woman’s stomach into the baby’s heart, causing excruciating pain to the baby as the poison stops his/her heart. A few days later, labor is induced and the woman delivers her dead baby’s body.
At 35 weeks, an unborn baby is fully formed and viable outside the womb. In an abortion at this stage, the unborn baby would feel intense, excruciating pain as he or she is being killed. Late-term abortions also are dangerous for mothers, and some women have died along with their unborn babies.
India has some of the highest abortion numbers in the world. Approximately 15.6 million unborn babies were aborted in the country in 2015, according to the Guttmacher Institute.