An Indian court granted permission this month for a healthy, late-term unborn baby to be killed in an elective abortion because the baby’s mother said she would suffer mental anguish.
Medical Dialogues reports the 21-year-old mother is 26-weeks pregnant with her unborn baby, and a panel of doctors from JJ Hospital in Mumbai told the Bombay High Court that both mother and child are healthy.
India allows unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. In recent years, however, the Asian country’s courts have been granting numerous exceptions to the law for victims of rape and mothers of unborn babies with disabilities.
In this case, however, the unwed mother requested an exception because she said she had consensual sex and her birth control failed, according to the report. Her lawyers told the court that she would suffer mental anguish if she gives birth to a live baby.
Doctors who examined the mother and her unborn baby on Sept. 8 said the baby may be born alive and survive if an abortion is done at such a late stage of pregnancy. In a report to the court, the doctors said inducing labor “at this stage will result in a pre-term viable baby requiring intensive care management.”
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However, the Bombay High Court agreed to allow the abortion as long as doctors make sure the baby is killed in the womb first, the report continues.
“We understand the trauma that the petitioner, an unwed mother, would undergo. At the same time, it cannot be lost sight of an alive baby being born and the consequences it would have on the baby if it is prematurely terminated,” the judges wrote.
The judges expressed concern that forcing the baby to be born prematurely could result in future health problems for the child, but they did not appear to have any concern about the baby suffering while being killed in the womb just because the mother does not want her child.
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 as the poison stops his/her heart. A few days later, labor is induced and the woman delivers her dead baby’s body.
By 26 weeks of pregnancy, unborn babies can feel pain. Premature babies have survived as early as 21 weeks of pregnancy.
Late-term abortions can be dangerous for mothers as well, and some women have died along with their unborn babies. Abortions also can be traumatic and mentally damaging, with studies showing higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide among post-abortive mothers.
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.
Below is an image of an unborn baby at 26 weeks.