Abortion Decision Freedom Belongs To Woman: High Court

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Mumbai, 23rd January 2023: A woman has the right to choose whether to continue the pregnancy, and this decision is hers alone, the High Court expressed a firm opinion while allowing a married woman to have an abortion at 32 weeks. The court granted this permission after a medical report found serious abnormalities in the fetus.

The woman is in the last phase of her pregnancy. Therefore, the medical board reported that abortion should not be allowed even if there is a serious abnormality in the fetus. Refusing to accept it, Justice Gautam Patel and Justice S.G. Digge recorded the above opinion. It also allowed the petitioner woman to have an abortion.

“Given the serious abnormalities in the fetus, it does not make sense that the pregnancy is in the last stage or has lasted longer than the period allowed by law. On the contrary, it is not easy for the petitioner to decide to have an abortion. But, after taking complete information, she has decided against it, and that decision is hers. She has to take it alone,” the court said. The court also explained that the right to choose whether to keep the fetus is the petitioner’s and the medical board has no right.

The court also observed that terminating the pregnancy only on the ground of delay is not only a denial of the fetus’s right to live a good life but also a denial of the petitioner’s right to give birth to a healthy baby and good parenting. Furthermore, refusing abortion is tantamount to denying her right to dignity, as well as her reproductive and decisional autonomy. The court also said that she knew that a healthy baby would not be born through labour and that is why she decided to have an abortion.

To accept the view of the medical board is forcing the petitioner and her husband into unhappy and traumatic parenting, the court said in the order.

During fetal testing, it was revealed that the baby had severe abnormalities and would be mentally and physically disabled at birth. After that, the petitioner woman approached the High Court for permission to have an abortion.