HC directs AIIMS to form medical board to examine woman's 25-week foetus with abnormalities

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New Delhi, Dec 31 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has directed the Medical Superintendent of AIIMS to forthwith constitute a board to examine the condition of a 25-week pregnant woman, whose foetus is suffering from serious abnormalities.

A vacation bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the medical superintendent of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to submit by January 4, the report regarding the medical condition of the foetus and the possibility of the foetus not surviving the term of the pregnancy.

The high court was hearing a petition by a woman seeking permission to undergo medical termination of her 25-week pregnancy on the ground that the foetus was suffering from Bilateral Agenesis and Anlyaramni.

Advocate Sneha Mukherjee, representing the woman, submitted that the foetus would not survive till child birth as both the kidneys have not developed as yet and added that in the circumstances it would be futile to compel the petitioner to undergo the full terms of pregnancy.

The high court said it “considers it apposite to direct Superintendent, All India Institute of Medical Sciences to forthwith constitute a medical board to examine the petitioner (woman) and submit a report regarding the medical condition of the foetus and the possibility of the foetus not surviving the term of the pregnancy.” The report of the medical board shall be submitted on or before January 4, the next date of hearing, the high court said.

Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act does not permit termination of pregnancy in case the period of gestation is more than 20 weeks.

The plea said during an ultra-sonography, conducted on the woman at the gestational age of 25 weeks, it was discovered that the fetus suffered from Bilateral Renal Agenesis (both kidneys absent) thereby making it incompatible with life.

However, the woman had crossed the 20 weeks mark and medical termination of pregnancy is restricted thereafter.

In January this year, the union cabinet had approved the Medical Termination Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which provides for enhancing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women including survivors of rape, victim of incest and other vulnerable women, like differently abled and minors. PTI SKV SKV RKS RKS