Supreme Court of India denies request to abort 20 week baby with Down syndrome

By Dave Andrusko

Justice S.A. Bobde

Justice S.A. Bobde

The Supreme Court of India today rejected a request to abort a 20-week-old baby diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortions in India are only allowed past the 20th week in cases of a threat to the mother’s life or the child’s (presumably a diagnosis of a fatal fetal anomaly).

“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,” said Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice L. Nageswara Rao. “We have a life in our hands.”

The interim order comes after two late-term abortions were allowed by the Court since the beginning of the year, according to the Times of India.

Justice L. Nageswara Rao

Justice L. Nageswara Rao

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.

According to the newspaper, there is considerable pressure to extend the age at which a “normal” baby can be aborted to 24 weeks.

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