A Dombivli resident, who had petitioned the Supreme Court asking for permission to abort her 24-week-old foetus which has a severe abnormality, will undergo the procedure at Parel’s KEM Hospital on Wednesday.
The abortion was scheduled on Tuesday after the apex court granted permission on Monday.
Dr Avinash Supe, dean of KEM Hospital, told HT that they could not start the procedure on Tuesday as the woman and her husband reached the hospital late. “Doctors are evaluating her condition. They will start the procedure on Wednesday morning,” he said.
Meera Pal, 22, and her husband wanted to abort the foetus that was diagnosed with anencephaly — a rare condition in which babies are born with parts of their brain and skull missing, at 21.1 weeks.
The law, under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, does not allow abortion beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Pal’s husband, Santosh, said that they are anxious and are hoping that the procedure gets over safely.
“Doctors have told me that it will take 48 hours for the entire procedure. I hope everything goes about smoothly,” he said.
What does the law say
The law, under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, does not allow abortions beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases where there is a threat to the mother’s life.
Any person/ doctor breaching the provisions of the Act can invite imprisonment up to seven years.
What does the 2014, draft Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Bill say?
The draft Bill allows abortion up to 24 weeks
A healthcare provider “in good faith” can make the decision of aborting a pregnancy between 20 and 24 weeks if:
- The pregnancy involves substantial risks to the mother or child
- If the pregnant woman has alleged the pregnancy was caused by rape
Dr Nikhil Datar, medical director, Cloudnine Hospital, Malad, who was the co-petitioner in the case, said the government must push the abortion ceiling to 24 weeks as soon as possible.
“Not every pregnant woman who has crossed the deadline of 20 weeks has access to file a petition in the apex court,” he said. “One cannot imagine the anxiety the woman goes through when she learns that her baby has a fatal condition but she cannot undergo abortion because she has crossed 20 weeks of pregnancy,” said Datar, also a gynaecologist.