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SC rejects plea for termination of over 27-week pregnancy,

says foetus has fundamental right to live

“The child in womb also has a fundamental right to live. What do you say about that?,” the bench asked.

court hamGmeraCCd121122asaA1G1 1NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a plea of a 20-year-old unmarried woman seeking termination of her over 27-week pregnancy, saying the foetus in the womb also has a fundamental right to live.

A bench headed by Justice B R Gavai passed the order while hearing the woman’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court’s May 3 order refusing to allow termination of her pregnancy.

“We can’t pass any order contrary to the statute,” the bench, also comprising justices S V N Bhatti and Sandeep Mehta, told her counsel.

“The child in womb also has a fundamental right to live. What do you say about that?,” the bench asked.

The woman’s counsel said the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act talks about the mother only.

“It is made for mother,” he said.

The bench said the duration of pregnancy was over seven months now.

“What about the right of the child to survive? How do you address that?” the bench asked.

The counsel said the foetus is in the womb and till the child is delivered, it is the right of the mother.

“The petitioner at this stage is under severe traumatic condition. She can’t come outside also. She is taking classes for NEET exam. She is under highly traumatic condition. She can’t face the society at this stage,” he said.

The lawyer argued that her mental and physical well-being should be considered.

“Sorry,” the bench said.

In its May 3 order, the high court had noted that on April 25, the court had directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to constitute a medical board to ascertain the condition of the foetus and the petitioner.

“A perusal of the report (of medical board) shows that there is no congenital abnormality in the foetus nor is there any danger to the mother to carry on with the pregnancy which will mandate termination of the foetus,” the high court had said.

“Since the foetus is viable and normal, and there is no danger to the petitioner to carry on with the pregnancy, foeticide would neither be ethical nor legally permissible,” it had said.

Before the high court, the petitioner had said that on April 16, she felt discomfort in the abdomen and got an ultrasound scan done and it showed she was 27 weeks pregnant, which was beyond the legally permissible limit of 24 weeks.

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