High Court Allows Abortion of Fetus After 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

The High Court of Punjab and Haryana on 1st of December decided a Writ Petition before them in a case of medical termination of pregnancy. 

One of the bases for legal termination of pregnancy is when the fetus has serious abnormalities affecting its life. When an abortion has to be done post 20 weeks of pregnancy, it must be approved by a court.

Background:

The petitioner, by the name of Vandana Yadav, filed a writ petition in the court directing the respondent or any Medical Organization to conduct an abortion on her. 

The reasons for such termination of pregnancy were on the account of medical complications to the fetus. 

On 25th of November 2020, the court had passed an order in which the complications of the pregnancy were explicitly stated. As per the report of Government Multispecialty Hospital the fetus has a physical deformity in the head and the chances of survival were remote. 

A similar report was given by Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMES), Chandigarh on 20.11.20. The doctors had further submitted their inability to conduct the procedure, even after mutually agreeing to the abortion, due to the extended period of pregnancy.

Another physical examination of the petitioner was done by PGIMES on the 27th of November to further understand the situation.

Observations:

The examination done on 27th November revealed the following:

  • According to the ultrasonography, the petitioner was 25 weeks pregnant.  
  • The fetus has no skull vault and thus a hanging brain tissue. Such deformity from this stage in the pregnancy suggested a missing skull along with missing parts of the brain. This is not compatible for a normal life.
  • The petitioner has extremely lowered Hemoglobin levels and is in distress due to the pregnancy.
  • The petitioner consents to the abortion.

Decision of the Court:

Taking into consideration the situation, Justice G.S. Sandhawalia allowed the petition, thus allowing the abortion. The petitioner was ordered to be in PGIMER within the next 3 days, and the authorities were ordered to complete the procedure.

Story by Sai Kulkarni- Intern

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