“Foetus has Right to Live”, SC Rejects Plea for Abortion of over 27-Week Pregnancy

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to permit a 20-year-old unmarried woman to terminate her over 27-week pregnancy, remarking that 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 denial to allow termination of her pregnancy.

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

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.

The legally permissible limit for abortion is 24 weeks.

Under the MTP Act, termination of pregnancy of a duration exceeding 24 weeks can be allowed in case of substantial foetal abnormality  as diagnosed by a medical board or if an opinion is formed in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the pregnant woman.

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