The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a pregnant woman’s plea to abort her foetus on the grounds that it was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. A bench of Justices SA Bobde and LN Rao argued that the doctors who examined the woman, who is in her 26th week, did not recommend termination of the pregnancy.
The apex court said there was no physical risk to the 37-year-old woman, citing a report from the medical board. It pointed out that children with Down Syndrome “are undoubtedly less intelligent, but they are fine people”.
In January this year, the Supreme Court had allowed a 24-weeks pregnant woman from Thane to abort her foetus that suffered from a life-threatening condition. The court took the decision after the Mumbai hospital submitted a radiology test report that said the foetus suffered from anencephaly – a condition where the baby is born without parts of brain and skull. In July 2016, the apex court had granted permission to a 23-year-old rape survivor to terminate her 24-week pregnancy as the foetus also suffered from anencephaly.
Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortion is legal in India only up to 20 weeks of pregnancy unless continuing it will cause harm to the mother or the child.