Bombay High Court Faces Complex Abortion Case: Woman Seeks Termination at 26 Weeks

In a poignant legal challenge, a 28-year-old woman has approached the Bombay High Court, seeking permission to terminate her 26-week pregnancy, which she describes as ‘unwanted’. The woman, who is currently embroiled in divorce proceedings and is already a mother to a four-year-old daughter, claims the pregnancy resulted from a relationship with a friend.

Her plea highlights the severe mental and physical hardships she might face if forced to continue the pregnancy. “If the petitioner is made to go through with the unwanted pregnancy, then there is a likelihood of mental and physical anguish and trauma,” the plea asserts.

In response to her plea, the High Court, last week, instructed a medical board to assess the woman’s health and the viability of terminating the pregnancy at such a late stage. The findings of this medical examination were reviewed by a division bench comprising Justices A.S. Gadkari and Neela Gokhale, who noted that the medical board did not support the termination of the pregnancy.

The medical report explicitly stated that the woman was not fit for the procedure, leading the bench to request her lawyer, Tejas Dande, to discuss the medical board’s findings with her. The court has scheduled a further hearing on the matter for Wednesday, allowing time for these consultations.

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Adding to the complexity, the woman shared in her plea that stress in her personal life led her to overlook her missed menstrual cycles, causing her to realize the pregnancy later than usual. This delay has pushed her into a legal gray area, as under the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, court approval is necessary for the termination of pregnancies beyond 24 weeks.

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