Women activists welcome SC’s verdict to allow termination of 24-week pregnancy

Jaipur/Kolkata, July 25 : Women activists on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court's verdict of allowing a rape victim to terminate her 24-week pregnancy, saying the decision has come as a major relief to those with abnormal foetuses.

"The SC has allowed abortion for a 24-week pregnant. The MTP act allows abortion within 6-8 weeks. But sometime the situation is such that either the woman is not fit to deliver the baby or the baby is not healthy, in such cases, SC's verdict comes as a major relief," women rights activist Nisha Sidhu told ANI .

"Even earlier, some women had approached the court seeking permission to abort foetus that were not healthy, and the court had refused to grant permission.

This decision comes as a major relief to those women who have unhealthy babies in womb. This is a welcome decision," she added. The SC earlier in the day allowed a rape victim to medically terminate her 24-week pregnancy as the abnormalities in foetus were confirmed by the report of an apex court constituted medical board.

Another activist, Ruby Mukherjee described the decision as a "historic one", adding that abortion after 24-week was dangerous.

"If the woman and her husband agree, then abortion is legal. But, in case of rape victims, there is no male member involved. So, this judgement is good, if they want to keep it (foetus), otherwise they can abort it," she told ANI.

In the last hearing, the apex court had constituted a Medical Board of doctors of the KEM Hospital Mumbai to examine the petitioner.

The petitioner is a rape survivor and had sought the permission from the Supreme Court as under the present law, a foetus older than 20 weeks can't be aborted, unless it is necessary to save the life of the mother.

She also challenged the provisions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971. The issue of validity of the certain sections of the Act is already pending before a different bench of the Supreme Court.

The petition also argues the current laws deny women the right to abort in case of extraordinary medical complications.

As per the law, pregnancies not exceeding 12 weeks may be terminated based on a single opinion formed in good faith.

In case of pregnancies exceeding 12 weeks, but less than 20 weeks, the termination needs opinion of two doctors.

The MTP Act clearly states the conditions under which a pregnancy can be ended or aborted, the persons who are qualified to conduct the abortion and the place of implementation.