Mumbai Rape Survivor Can Terminate 24-Week-Old 'Abnormal' Foetus: Top Court

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The rape survivor had approached the Supreme Court after doctors refused to abort the foetus


New Delhi:  The Supreme Court has allowed a rape survivor from Mumbai to abort a 24-week-old foetus that has serious birth defects.

"As per existing law if there is danger to the health of the mother, the foetus can be aborted. We advise the petitioner to terminate the pregnancy," the Supreme Court said, after a medical report confirmed that continuing with the pregnancy was life-threatening for the woman, who was raped by her ex-fiance.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the centre is not opposing as this abortion is permissible under law.

The foetus suffers from anencephaly, in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull.

The woman had approached the Supreme Court after doctors turned her away as the law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. On Friday, the court ordered Mumbai's King Edwrad Memorial hospital to set up a medical board within 24 hours, examine her and inform the court whether the abortion could be allowed.   

The woman's lawyer Colin Gonsalves said the "medical board also said the foetus is abnormal and said if the foetus is allowed to grow it will endanger the life of the mother... So as per law if the mother's life is in danger, foetus beyond 20 weeks can be aborted."

The rape survivor has also challenged the constitutional validity of the provisions of the abortion law which prohibits termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks. The court said the larger issue of a challenge to the law would be heard later.


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