WITH the judiciary emerging as the only avenue for pregnant women over 20 weeks in gestation whose foetuses are diagnosed with an anomaly, the city is seeing a rise in the number of petitions seeking medical termination of pregnancy filed in the apex court. In the latest case, a Dubai-based pregnant woman, detected with several anomalies in her foetus, underwent an emergency pregnancy termination at JJ Hospital on Monday following Supreme Court orders.
The 32-year-old woman was 30-weeks pregnant. Doctors claim attempts to induce early labour failed Saturday and Monday. “On Monday, for the mother’s survival, we had to carry out a Caesarean procedure,” said gynaecologist Dr Preeti Lewis. The woman was admitted to the state-run hospital on Saturday.
The newborn, weighing 900 gms, survived for a few minutes after birth before succumbing to multiple complications. As intra-uterine foeticide is not permitted, doctors had to conduct a pre-term delivery and wait till the newborn succumbed naturally.
Last week, a panel of a cardiologist, radiologist, and a gynaecologist at JJ Hospital submitted a medical report to the apex court about the 32-year-old woman stating that chances of the foetus surviving after birth were negligible.
On September 8, two days after the Supreme Court allowed a 13-year-old to undergo abortion, the court permitted the Dubai-based woman to terminate her pregnancy.
According to JJ Hospital’s medical report, the baby was diagnosed with multiple congenital defects, which included a heart defect, projecting intestine, underdeveloped limbs and underdeveloped abdominal wall.
This was the second pregnancy for the woman. She had come to visit her parents in Virar where she underwent sonography tests that revealed the anomalies. The woman will remain admitted to JJ Hospital for another week.
“As this is her second operation, we will monitor her for a few days to ensure that there are no complications,” Lewis added.
According to gynaecologist Nikhil Datar, who aided the woman in filing a petition with the Supreme Court, there are three similar cases of women who have crossed 20 weeks of gestation and require abortion due to anomalies.
All three women are in the process of filing a petition to abort their foetuses.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act permits abortion till 20 weeks, unless an immediate danger to the mother’s life is detected.
“Some anomalies are detected beyond 20 weeks of gestation. There is a need to amend the law and extend the cap of abortion,” Datar said.
Delhi-based advocate Sneha Mukherjee said: “We are getting similar cases from across India as awareness about Supreme Court intervention is rising.”