The Supreme Court today allowed a rape victim to terminate 24-week pregnancy after doctors said the malformed foetus posed a danger to her life, an order that relaxes a 20-week legal restriction on abortions. A bench headed by justice JS Khehar permitted the abortion after a board of seven doctors declared that the foetus was a danger to the 26-year-old woman’s physical and mental health.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi while submitting the report told the court that the medical termination of pregnancy act didn’t prohibit abortion if the foetus posed a severe risk to the mother’s life. The court had on July 22 directed Mumbai’s KEM hospital to set up a panel of experts to examine the petitioner, a Maharashtra resident.
She had told the court that the foetus was diagnosed with anencephaly, a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull but doctors refused her abortion as the pregnancy has gone beyond the 20-week legal ceiling.