Supreme Court rejects plea to abort 26-week-old foetus with Down Syndrome


The Supreme Court today refused to allow a woman to abort her 26-week foetus that would be born with Down Syndrome.

The apex court said that aborting a 20-plus week foetus can be allowed only in cases where there is a danger to the life of the mother or the foetus. Medical reports said the woman’s child may suffer from physical and mental problems and with low intelligence, but there was no physical risk to the mother in continuing the pregnancy.

“It is sad that the child may suffer from physical and mental challenges and it’s unfortunate for the mother but we can’t allow an abortion…We have a life in our hands,” the court said.

Down Syndrome is a congenital disorder which causes intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities.

A two-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice L. Nageswara Rao, passed the interim order. Meanwhile, the Centre informed the bench that it is considering extending medical termination of foetuses of up to 24 weeks.

In February, the top court allowed a 22-year-old woman to terminate her 24-week pregnancy on the ground that it would endanger her life.

In January, the apex court allowed a Mumbai-based woman, who was in her 24th week of pregnancy, to terminate her pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. The court took into consideration a medical report that suggested the foetus would not be able to survive without the skull.



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