HC allows Chandigarh woman to terminate 26-week pregnancy
Noting PGIMER’s report that the foetus’ brain and skull were poorly formed, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday allowed termination of a Chandigarh woman’s 26-week pregnancy.
The high court bench of justice Ramendra Jain acted on the woman’s plea filed on July 1, following which the court had sought a report from Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, does not permit termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. The law allows termination of pregnancy by a registered medical practitioner, where the length of the pregnancy does not exceed 12 weeks. Where the length of the pregnancy is up to 20 weeks, it can be terminated on doctors’ opinion that continuance of the pregnancy will involve a risk to the life of the mother or of grave injury to her physical or mental health.
It can also be terminated, if there is a substantial risk to the newborn or upon birth, the child will suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.
A PGIMER panel on Wednesday informed the court that the woman has a single live intrauterine foetus with features suggestive of anencephaly (underdeveloped brain and incomplete skull) with spinal deformity and polyhydramnios (excess of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac).
“It is a severe congenital malformation in which the foetal skull and brain are poorly formed, and are incompatible with life,” the panel informed the court, adding that the woman was clinically fit. But, she was under mental stress due to the foetus being affected with anencephaly.
The panel informed the court that she may undergo medical termination of pregnancy at this stage due to severe congenital anomaly. The risks, involved with termination of pregnancy at an advanced gestation of more than 25 weeks, have been explained to patient.
On this, the court now allowed termination of the pregnancy and asked PGIMER to admit the woman within the next two days.