The Supreme Court on Monday (16 October) rejected a woman's request to terminate her pregnancy beyond the 26-week mark, citing her mental condition known as postpartum psychosis.
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, leading the Supreme Court bench, stated that the state could assume responsibility for the child after birth. The decision came after the court had previously reserved its verdict on the woman's plea seeking permission to direct AIIMS to terminate her pregnancy.
The court declined permission for the termination, explaining that the pregnancy had surpassed the 24-week limit. Chief Justice Chandrachud further clarified that the woman's pregnancy did not pose an immediate threat, and the case was unrelated to fetal abnormality.
According to Hindustan Times, the court also mentioned that the woman's parents could decide whether to offer the child up for adoption, and the woman would continue to receive treatment at AIIMS.
The woman had approached the court earlier in the month, stating that she was unaware of her third pregnancy due to a condition called lactational amenorrhea, which inhibits menstruation. She also cited postpartum depression and financial difficulties.
Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, the termination limit is 24 weeks for married women and special categories, including survivors of rape, as well as other vulnerable women such as the differently-abled and minors.
Despite arguments from senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who contended that the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed the 24-week guideline 'obsolete,' the Supreme Court upheld its decision.
The medical board of AIIMS confirmed the petitioner's medical condition but asserted that there would be no health consequences if she continued with the pregnancy.
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