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In the news: Bombay high court permits surrogate mother to terminate her 24-week-old pregnancy

abortion rights
Date : 29/12/2018

The Bombay high court permitted a surrogate mother to terminate her 24-week-old pregnancy after the foetus was found to have multiple cardiac abnormalities. The HC was hearing a petition filed by a Pune-based woman, seeking permission to terminate her 24-week pregnancy.

According to the petition, the woman had entered into an agreement with a Pune-based couple to conceive their baby through assisted reproductive technology. The baby was conceived but later, during a routine check-up, it was learnt that the foetus had multiple cardiac abnormalities. The woman along with the parents then approached the high court seeking permission to terminate the pregnancy as it had gone beyond the 20-week period. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act prohibits abortion of pregnancy beyond the 20-week period unless a direction to that effect is given by a high court after considering the report from an expert medical team of any state-run hospital.

Last week, the woman was examined by a medical team of the B.J. Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital in Pune, which submitted a report noting that clinical examination revealed multiple cardiac abnormalities in the foetus. The report further noted that if the baby was born, it would require multiple surgeries with high morbidity and mortality. “The medical team has therefore opined that the pregnancy may be terminated,” the court said in its order.

On Wednesday, when the petition was heard, Justice Bharti Dangre said the case was “peculiar” in nature as the petitioner was a surrogate mother and the baby had been conceived through assisted reproductive technology. The court then directed that the intended parents appear before it to accord consent. “As directed, the intended father appeared before court on Friday and gave consent.

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