A woman seeking permission for termination of her 28-week-old pregnancy has been allowed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to undergo the procedure for it after doctors of Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, found that the foetus was suffering from a serious medical condition.
The Patiala woman had to approach the court in view of the legal embargo on abortion of pregnancies which have crossed 20 weeks.
In an order passed on Friday, Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa, asked the Medical Superintendent of Government Medical College and Hospital, (GMCH) Patiala to get the woman’s pregnancy terminated under the supervision of the Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
As per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, a pregnancy can be terminated by a registered doctor when it does not exceed the 12 week limit and beyond it till 20 weeks, it can only be allowed after seeking the opinion of two doctors. Pregnancies beyond the 20 week limit are only allowed to be terminated by courts, usually only in those cases where it becomes necessary to safeguard the life of the pregnant woman.
On August 20, the woman was examined by a medical board at Rajindra Hospital when the pregnancy was 24 weeks and three days old. “The ultrasound report showed abnormal development of fetal brain which will result in birth of the baby with future bodily abnormalities and physical handicap as well as grave injury to the mental health of the mother as well as of the family,” the Board said in its report, while recommending the couple to seek permission from court under the Act.
The single bench in its order said, “The medical board has clearly recommended medical termination of pregnancy. It would be difficult for this court to not accept the recommendations made by the duly constituted medical board and to take a different view in the matter”.
Since last month, there have been four cases where women facing medical complications in the pregnancy have had to approach the High Court for the requisite permission for an abortion. The other cases were from Mohali, Fatehgarh Sahib and Faridabad.