The Punjab and Haryana High Court has given permission to a Mohali woman for termination of her 22-week-old pregnancy after the foetus was diagnosed with a serious blood disorder. The PGIMER director has been asked by the court to get the pregnancy of the woman terminated under the supervision of head of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology.
“The clear opinion given by the medical expert is that a foetus/baby born with the medical condition of Thalassemia Major is not expected to have a normal life expectancy and which requires repetitive blood transfusions and which process is normally associated with multiple complications,” said a single bench of the High Court.
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. The pregnancy beyond the 20-week limit is only allowed by the courts usually only in those cases where it becomes necessary to safeguard the life of the pregnant woman.
The woman and her husband had approached the High Court stating that the doctors have clearly told them the foetus with Thalessemia Major is not expected to have a normal life expectancy as it would require repetitive blood transfusions for survival which is also associated with multiple complications. The court was also told the woman is a housewife and her husband is a taxi driver who would not have the financial means to afford the repetitive blood transfusions or the medical treatment for any medical complication.
The court remarked that would be difficult for it to refuse the permission to the woman in view of the peculiar circumstances of the case. It added, “The medical expert opinion is clearly leaning in favour of an abortion. There would be no basis for this court not to accept the recommendations made by the doctor i.e. Dr Rashmi Bagga who happens to be a Professor in the Department of OBS & Gynae, PGIMER, Chandigarh.”