High court allows abortion of 27-week foetus to be done at private hospital in Mumbai
Earlier, all abortions post 20 weeks were carried out only in public hospitalsmumbai Updated: May 27, 2018 00:40 IST
A 37-year-old woman, who was in the 27th week of pregnancy, was allowed by the Bombay high court to undergo abortion at a private hospital in the city. Her foetus had an abnormal brain growth.
Earlier, all abortions post 20 weeks were carried out only in public hospitals.
The husband and wife concerned moved the court on May 14 and the case came up for hearing on May 21. The court directed that a panel of experts from Sir JJ hospital, Byculla evaluate the case and give their opinion. Based on that report the high court allowed for termination of pregnancy.
Dr Nikhil Datar, who conducted the abortion procedure at Cloudnine Hospital, Goregaon, said this was the first time the judiciary allowed abortion for a pregnancy post 20 weeks at a facility chosen by the couple concerned.
“It is a major step forward as the patients have been given the choice of getting the procedure done at a place of their choice. It is important as it gives the woman to get the procedure done by a doctor she has faith in and feels comfortable with,” Dr Datar said.
The woman was referred to Dr Datar for a medical opinion when she was in the 24th week of pregnancy. “The couple already has one child who is mentally challenged,” he said.
For this pregnancy, the woman had undergone routine scans and sonography before 20 weeks - the legal limit for termination of pregnancy but no abnormalities were detected.
It was during a sonography during the 24th week of pregnancy that it was found the baby’s brain was not growing. “Then it was a panic situation, they already knew what was in store. They were hoping and expecting this one to be a normal pregnancy, but we saw multiple abnormalities in the brain the same as the first child,” said Dr Datar.
The couple in their application asked for permission to get the procedure done by a doctor and hospital of their choice, which was accepted by the judge after due diligence of the hospital.
Dr Datar said he faced a dilemma as there are no national guidelines for the procedure, so he followed international guidelines.
“Whenever there is late termination, especially after 24 weeks of pregnancy, there is a possibility that foetus may come out alive if it is in a sufficiently mature condition. For the first time we followed the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for medical termination of pregnancy and performed foeticide by injecting medications into the sac that holds the foetus,” Dr Datar added.
“This was done as per the wish of the parents as they wanted to end the agony to themselves as well as to the unborn,” Dr Datar said.
This procedure is routinely used for termination of multifetal pregnancy.