The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked AIIMS to assess the physical viability of a 22-week-old foetus and the mother’s mental status, after she sought termination of her pregnancy on grounds that the foetus has “severe deformities” and carrying it would affect her mental and physical health.
A bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Prateek Jalan directed AIIMS to set up a committee and submit a report in five days.
The woman, in her plea filed through advocate Sneha Mukherjee, also challenged the constitutional validity of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act that prevents abortion of a foetus which is more than 20 weeks old, unless the mother’s life is at risk.
Taking note of this, the bench issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi government and sought their stand. The woman contended that the restriction in the Act does not provide for severe fetal abnormalities discovered late in pregnancy, and the physical and mental health of a pregnant woman.
The plea contends that the petitioner has “suffered immense mental and physical anguish” as a result of the unreasonable 20-week restriction under the Act.
It added that the abnormalities were detected during a level II ultrasound, which showed that the foetus was suffering from hydrocephalus — a build-up of fluid in the cavities of the brain — short spine and other deformities.