Woman, whose fetus was diagnosed with Anencephaly, allowed to terminate 24 weeks pregnancy

Supreme Court: The Bench of S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ allowed a woman to undergo medical termination of her 24 weeks pregnancy in the light of the apprehended danger to her physical and mental health in case of continuance of pregnancy.

The petitioner apprehended danger to her life, having discovered that her fetus was diagnosed with Anencephaly, a defect that leaves foetal skull bones unformed and is both untreatable and certain to cause the infant’s death during or shortly after birth. The medical examination showed that the fetus is without a skull and would, therefore, not be in a position to survive.

Deciding the question as to whether the right to bodily integrity calls for a permission to allow her to terminate her pregnancy, the Court said that the report of the Medical Board clearly warrants the inference that the continuance of the pregnancy involves the risk to the life of the pregnant woman and a possible grave injury to her physical or mental health as required by Section 3 (2)(i) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. Though, the pregnancy is into the 24th week, having regard to the danger to the life and the certain inability of the fetus to survive extra uterine life, the Court permitted the petitioner to terminate her pregnancy. [Meera Santosh Pal v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 39, decided on 16.01.2017]

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