Supreme Court refuses woman?s plea to medically terminate her 26-week pregnancy

The Supreme Court on 16 October refused permission to the married woman to terminate her over 26-week pregnancy, adding the State may take care of the child after birth.

Earlier, a woman had sought termination of 26 weeks of pregnancy on account of her illness, while the Centre has filed an application seeking a recalling of the top court’s order by which the woman’s petition had been allowed.

Earlier in the day, a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, caught on the horns of a moral dilemma over the rights of the unborn child and the woman’s right to her bodily autonomy, noted the fresh report from the AIIMS medical board which confirmed that the petitioner is suffering from post-partum psychosis and the fetus hasn’t been adversely affected by her medication.

‘Okay, we will look into it. The judgement may come out later today,’ the bench, also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misa said.

The top court said the challenge to pregnancy termination law will be dealt with in separate proceedings and the present case would be limited between the petitioner and the state.

The bench was hearing arguments on the Centre’s application, which sought a recall of the apex court’s 9 October permitting the 27-year-old woman, a mother of two, to undergo termination of pregnancy at AIIMS.

According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, the upper limit for the termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks for married women, special categories including survivors of rape, and other vulnerable women such as the differently-abled and minors.

The issue arose after the AIIMS medical board’s one of the doctors sent an e-mail on 10 October saying the foetus had a strong possibility of survival.

The matter came up before the CJI-led bench after a two-judge bench on Wednesday gave a split verdict on the Centre’s plea for recall of its 9 October order granting permission to the woman to end her pregnancy.