The Supreme Court on Monday allowed a rape victim to terminate her pregnancy after a medical examination confirmed that the foetus had an abnormality, ANI reported. The petitioner, who is a rape survivor from Mumbai in the 24th week of her pregnancy, had challenged a section of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, which prescribes a ceiling of 20 weeks of pregnancy for an abortion.
On July 21, after hearing the woman's petition, the top court had sent notices to the central and Maharashtra governments, questioning the validity of abortion laws in India. The woman had said current laws denied women the right to abort in case of extraordinary medical complications. She said her foetus suffers from anencephaly – a birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull – but doctors refused to abort it because of the existing law.
The plea had also asked the court to issue an order to the Centre to provide necessary directions to hospitals for setting up an expert panel of doctors to assess pregnancies and offer abortions to at least survivors of sexual violence and those who have crossed the 20-week mark.