Ultimate Decision In Such Cases Ought To Recognize Choice Of Mother: Delhi HC Allows Woman To Terminate 33-Week-Old Pregnancy
The Delhi High Court has allowed a woman with 33-week-old pregnancy to medially terminate her pregnancy.
The Court observed that the ultrasound reports, diagnostic reports, the Medical Board's diagnosis of the dilation of the left lateral ventricle of the brain of the foetus revealed the unpredictability of the quality of life, as also, the degree of handicap, and would constitute "substantial foetal abnormalities".
The bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh further observed that "…the ultimate decision in such cases ought to recognize the choice of the mother, as also, the possibility of a dignified life for the unborn child."
The Court noted that there is considerable doubt and risk involved in the unborn child's chances of leading a dignified and self-sustaining life, based upon the medical evidence and reports.
The Court also observed that the opinion of the Medical Board in cases of termination of pregnancy cannot be sketchy and fragmented.
The Court held that in such cases, speediness coupled with qualitative reports is of utmost importance and that there ought to be some standard factors on which the Opinion should be given by the Board/s.
The Court held that such factors should include the medical condition of the foetus, medical condition of the woman, Risks involved for the woman and any other factors to be considered.
In this case, the petitioner-woman had approached the High Court seeking medical termination her pregnancy.
The Neurologist, had stated that although the written opinion of the Medical Board records that the condition of the foetus is "compatible with life", however, the quality of life cannot be predicted.
The Petitioner, in her conversation with the Court, stated that almost all doctors have confirmed the foetal abnormality, and this fact has caused considerable mental trauma to her.
Advocate Anwesh Madhukar appeared for the petitioner-woman whereas Hetu Arora Sethi, ASC, appeared for GNCTD.
The Court observed that "…the factors such as mental and physical health of the woman, the risk of the child if born suffering from serious physical or mental abnormality, the likelihood of the child being born with deformities, and living with deformities, coupled with the risks of surgery at such a nascent stage after being born, the results of which are also not conclusively known, and the lingering question as to whether the child would be self-sustaining or not, tilts the Court's mind in favour of the plea of the Petitioner."
Thus the Court allowed the medical termination of the pregnancy of the petitioner-woman.
Cause Title- Mrs. X v. GNCTD & Anr. (Neutral Citation No-2022/DHC/005344)