New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday decided to hear a fresh plea next day of a woman seeking to abort her 23-week old foetus on the ground that it suffered from ‘Down Syndrome’ and her life was in danger. A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao, which had on 23 February constituted a medical board to examine the 37-year-old woman, listed the matter for Tuesday as the first item.
Down syndrome is a congenital disorder which causes intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities. “As jointly prayed for, list the matter on 28 February, as first item at the top of the Board,” the bench said. The court had earlier asked the medical board comprising doctors of Mumbai-based KEM Hospital to file a report before it about her condition and advisability of permitting a medical termination of pregnancy, forthwith.
The woman, a resident of Maharashtra, has approached the apex court seeking nod to terminate her pregnancy saying that apart from serious mental and physical health problems for the child on birth, even her life was in danger.
The law prohibits termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks even if there is a fatal risk to the mother and the foetus. The woman has said in her plea that this disorder could cause physical and mental retardation and a child would not be able to lead a normal and healthy life.
In a separate case, the apex court had on 7 February allowed a 22-year-old woman to terminate her 24-week pregnancy on the ground that it would endanger her life. In another case, the apex court in January had allowed a Mumbai-based woman, who was in her 24th week of pregnancy, to terminate her pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act while taking into consideration the report of a hospital which had suggested that the foetus would not be able to survive without the skull.