In October last year, the Supreme Court refused to allow a 26-year-old woman, who had lost her husband, to terminate her pregnancy beyond 32 weeks. The court was hearing this case on Wednesday (January 31). The court said that the medical board has accepted that the fetus is not abnormal in any way.
A bench of Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice Prasanna Bhalchandra Varle refused to interfere with the January 23 order of the Delhi High Court. In an order dated January 23, the court had withdrawn its earlier decision of January 4, in which the woman was allowed to terminate her 29-week-old fetus.
What did the Supreme Court say
The Supreme Court said, ‘This is a 32 week old fetus. How can this be ended? The medical board has also said that it cannot be abolished. It’s only a matter of two weeks, then if you want, you can give it for adoption. Advocate Amit Mishra, appearing for the woman, said that if she gives birth to a child, it will be against her wishes and she will have to bear this trauma throughout her life.
The bench said that the High Court has considered every point, including the opinion of the medical board. Justice Trivedi said, ‘We cannot go beyond the opinion of the medical board. The medical board has said that it is a normal fetus. It has also been opined that there is no danger to the petitioner if she continues her pregnancy. The woman’s lawyer argued that the woman is a widow and will have to suffer trauma throughout her life and the court should consider her welfare.
Justice Trivedi said, ‘Why should we consider only his welfare?’ After this, the bench refused to interfere with the High Court order and dismissed the petition. The High Court had on January 4 allowed a widow suffering from depression to terminate her 29-week-old fetus on the grounds that continuing the pregnancy could affect her mental health. The court did not say that the right to reproductive choice also includes the right not to reproduce.
What was in the order of the High Court
The high court’s January 24 order came after the Center filed a petition, urging it to withdraw its January 4 order allowing medical termination of pregnancy on the grounds that there is a reasonable chance of survival of the child. And the court must consider the protection of the right to life of the unborn child.
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