The Bombay High Court Friday allowed a 33-year-old woman from Nashik to terminate her 30-week pregnancy. The woman had told the court that the medical reports of the foetus showed that it had developed schizencephaly — morbid condition incompatible with normal life often resulting in complete disability.
With the petitioner seeking permission to abort the foetus at a private hospital in Nashik, a division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice M S Sonak said she can go ahead at her own risk. The court also said that the doctors are entitled to immunity in this case if there is any complication. Earlier, a report from J J Hospital had stated that the foetus had multiple abnormalities and may be terminated with court’s permission.
Petitioner’s lawyer Kuldeep Nikam told the court that according to Section 4 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, a woman can go for termination of pregnancy at a government or private hospital that has approval of the state. State counsel Abhinandan Vagyani told the court that there are no private hospitals in the state that has approval from government for termination of pregnancy above 20 weeks.
The bench said the woman should not suffer because of this and she might want to go to a private hospital, which she may find more comfortable.
Vagyani said he will take instructions from the government and tell the court if a team from Mumbai can be sent or if the woman can be sent to the nearest government hospital in Pune or Dhule. The court said it cannot allow such a move because the foetus is 30 weeks old.
The petition stated that the couple already has a boy, who is a special child, and they are “taking his best possible care”. It added that the woman was “religiously” going for routine check-ups and taking proper precautions. Till August 2018, the follow-up check-up reports were normal, it said.
The petitioner also told the court that as her first child has medical problems, she had been advised by her gynaecologist to undergo a Fetal Wellbeing Scan and a real-time B-mode ultrasonography of gravid uterus. The gynaecologist told her that the foetus reflects “schizencephaly which is morbid condition to baby incompatible with normal life with completely disabled child”. She added that the test reports and the consultation with the doctors say that as “the foetus is suffering from Schizencephaly there is a substantial risk that if the child is born, it would be incompatible with normal life … which will cause great physical and mental hardships to the Petitioner. The Petitioner in such circumstance if continues with her pregnancy, … would also be in danger”.