The Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday allowed a Punjab-based HIV positive woman’s plea seeking termination of her 18-week-long pregnancy. The woman, already left by her husband due to her medical condition, told the court that delivery of the child could affect her physical and mental health. Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, after regular hearings in the case since February 21, ordered the woman to appear before the principal of Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, on Thursday and directed the doctors “to immediately proceed, taking into consideration the health and mental condition of the petitioner, for the purpose of termination of her pregnancy”. The medical college has also been ordered to provide the “pre- and post-termination medicines and other facilities to the petitioner keeping in view the fact that she has become destitute as her husband has already left her at the mercy of her old parents.”
The single bench had earlier sought the report from the medical college’s gynaecological department on the condition of the woman and asked it to form an opinion in accordance with the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which says a pregnancy can be terminated by a registered doctor when it does not exceed the 12 weeks limit, and beyond it till 20 weeks, it can only be allowed after seeking the opinion of two doctors. While the doctors in the woman’s case on March 12 reported to the court that there are little chances that the child could also get the HIV infection, her counsels had pleaded that the child’s birth would have a harmful affect on her mental condition.
“The order has been passed purely in accordance with the provisions of law that state a pregnancy can be terminated if it poses threat to the woman’s physical and mental health. Our plea was that she was a destitute woman and her husband had already filed a divorce petition after knowing about her condition,” her counsel Anant Kataria told The Indian Express.