• Landmark Decision: Calcutta HC allows woman to terminate her pregnancy after 35 weeks

    Landmark Decision: Calcutta HC allows woman to terminate her pregnancy after 35 weeks
    Digital Desk: The Calcutta high court authorised a lady to terminate her pregnancy after 35 weeks after physicians discovered that the foetus was suffering from problems in the spinal cord and brain, making its chances of survival slim. According to a nine-member medical team formed in response to the high court's directives, the infant would require emergency spinal surgery and shunt surgery for an enlarged head if allowed to be born with an open lesion in the spinal cord and abnormality of the brain. The baby would likely suffer major physical, neurological, and developmental difficulties such as limb paralysis, lack of bowel and bladder control, convulsions, cognitive delay, and visual problems even after the surgery, according to the physicians. Also Read: Money laundering case: ED takes Dawood Ibrahim’s brother Iqbal Kaskar into custody “Considering the entire gamut of facts and circumstances, this court permits the petitioner to medically terminate her pregnancy at an authorised hospital or medical facility,” the high court order stated. The rulings were made by a single bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha while hearing the case of a 36-year-old woman who sought medical termination of her pregnancy because at least three medical practitioners had discovered multiple medical complications in the foetus that were affecting the petitioner's health as well. The court ordered the director of the Kolkata-based Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research to form a medical board in accordance with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, and submit their findings to the court. Earlier this week, the report was turned in. The petitioner and her spouse also looked over the medical report before confirming under oath that they intended to end the pregnancy medically. The petitioner further stated that she was aware of the medical implications. "The risks and consequences to the petitioner that would follow in course of such procedure, i.e. to terminate pregnancy at this stage, have also been clearly indicated and the petitioner as well as her husband have carefully considered the same and have accepted such risks. It also appears that there is no serious risk to the life of the petitioner,” the order said. The court went on to say that instances like this must be based on facts because they are dependent on the nature of the medical board's findings as well as the required consent under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules, 2021, were notified by the Centre in October 2021, extending the gestational limit for termination of a pregnancy from 20 to 24 weeks for certain groups of women.