According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, a woman can abort a foetus within 20 weeks of conceiving.
Mumbai: As the apex court has directed the state to frame guidelines for dealing with cases of pregnancy termination beyond 20 weeks, gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Datar said that there should be a permanent committee to deal with such matters, and the government should come with a concrete decision so that aggrieved person doesn’t have to approach the court at all.
Dr Datar said, “It has now become a practice that a woman diagnosed with abnormal foetus after crossing the 20-weeks mark has to approach the court. It is high time that we find a solution to this as it is traumatising for the woman as well as the family.”
According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, a woman can abort a foetus within 20 weeks of conceiving. The apex court should amend the law, pushing the upper limit to 28 weeks, especially if the foetus is diagnosed with congenital abnormalities, added the doctor.
In a recent case, the high court had asked the medical board of the state-run JJ Hospital to examine the condition of the woman, who had requested the termination of her pregnancy. A team comprising the hospital’s dean, heads of gynaecology, paediatric, cardiac surgery, radiology and psychology departments conducted the medical evaluation.
Talking to The Asian Age, Dr Ashok Anand, head of the gynaecology department, said, “After conducting the tests last week, abnormalities were noted in her foetus. There were no traces of a heart and the brain and the stomach wasn’t formed properly.”
When asked about the frequency of cases where women have approached the court to terminate their pregnancy due to congenital abnormalities in the foetus, the doctor said, “It is very sad that a woman needs to approach the court for terminating her over 20-weeks pregnancy in case of abnormal foetuses. It is high time the government takes some concrete action on these pleas.”