Bombay High Court Grants 19-Year-Old Woman Permission to Terminate 25-Week Pregnancy

The Bombay High Court on Thursday authorized a 19-year-old woman to terminate her 25-week pregnancy, citing “grave psychological effects” and “social stigma” as the basis for her request. The division bench, consisting of Justices Somasekhar Sundaresan and NR Borkar, acknowledged the woman’s right to make autonomous decisions regarding her body.

The young woman, belonging to a lower income group, had filed a petition on May 27, seeking permission for the medical termination of her pregnancy. She expressed that the psychological impact and the societal stigma associated with her condition were overwhelming.

The medical board at Sassoon Hospital, Pune, examined and counseled the petitioner, subsequently submitting a report to the court. The report highlighted that although the fetus showed no abnormalities, continuing the pregnancy could result in severe psychological harm to the woman, taking into account her psychological state and socio-economic circumstances.

During the court proceedings, the bench interacted with the petitioner, affirming that she was fully informed about the fetus’s condition and the termination procedure. The judges noted her determined wish to proceed with the termination.

Addressing a suggestion regarding the involvement of the father of the fetus in the decision-making process, the court reiterated the Supreme Court’s stance that the partner does not have a legal stake in the pregnant woman’s reproductive choices.

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The court’s decision allows the woman to proceed with the termination at Sassoon Hospital immediately, ensuring that her health and psychological well-being are prioritized.

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