Bombay HC allows termination of 32-week pregnancy with serious foetal abnormalities, says decision is the woman's alone


PTI    24 January 2023

In a copy of its verdict that was released on Monday, the Bombay High Court ruled that a married woman′s 32-week pregnancy could be terminated if the foetus was found to have significant abnormalities. The court stated that a woman has the right to decide whether or not to continue her pregnancy and that the choice belongs to her and her alone.


On January 20, a division bench comprising Justices Mr. Gautam Patel and Mr. S. G. Dige refused to accept the medical board′s opinion that the pregnancy should not be terminated even though the foetus has serious defects because it was almost at the end. They stated that the petitioner made an intelligent choice and that she has the freedom to decide.


The mother had come to HC hoping to end her pregnancy after a sonogram revealed the foetus had significant defects and the infant would be born with physical and mental problems. The HC ruled that the Medical Board does not have the authority to make a decision about the case. They pointed out that refusing to end a pregnancy solely on the grounds of delay would consign the foetus to a life with few advantages as well as the mother to a life of hardship.


The court reasoned that the woman is aware that there is no chance she will have a normal, healthy baby. Hence, accepting the Medical Board′s opinion would force the petitioner and her husband into an unsatisfactory and painful parenting experience in addition to condemning the foetus to an inferior existence.


Additionally, the bench observed that the medical board did not consider the couple′s socioeconomic status. Thy pointed out that the bench did not make any attempt to imagine the kind of life the petitioner would have to lead for all time if the board′s proposal were to be implemented. They criticized the board and stated that the board only took one action, i.e., because it was late, it was not allowed, and it was obviously wrong.

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