New Delhi, January 7
The Delhi High Court Thursday referred to an AIIMS medical board a woman’s plea seeking termination of her 28-week pregnancy on the ground that the fetus suffers from anencephaly, a condition where the skull bone is not formed.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh asked the board to examine the woman and give a report on the feasibility of terminating her pregnancy by January 11, the next date of hearing.
The woman has been asked to be present before the board on January 8 between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm.
According to the woman’s plea, “an ultra-sonography at the gestational age of 27 weeks 5 days found that the fetus suffered from anencephaly (skull bone not formed) thereby making it incompatible with life”.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 prohibits abortion of a fetus after 20 weeks of gestation. The woman has, therefore, also challenged the provisions of the statute which restrict abortions after 20 weeks.
She has contended that with advances in technology it was perfectly safe for a woman to abort a fetus at any point during her pregnancy.
She has also contended that determination of fetal abnormality in many cases can only be done after the 20th week and “by keeping the ceiling artificially low, women who obtain reports of serious fetal abnormality after the 20th week have to suffer excruciating pain and agony because of the deliveries that they are forced to go through”.
“The ceiling of 20 weeks is therefore arbitrary, harsh, discriminatory and violate of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.” the petition has claimed. — PTI