Woman asks Delhi High Court for permission to abort 28 week old unborn baby

By Dave Andrusko

As NRL News Today has often discussed, India’s Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.  But we have reported, this barrier is increasingly being breached on a regular basis.

News 18 India reported today that a woman has asked the Delhi High Court for permission to abort her 28-week-old unborn baby on the grounds that the baby has anencephaly. 

According to the story, Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh referred her request to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences “to examine the woman and give a report on the feasibility of terminating her pregnancy by January 11, the next date of hearing.” The unidentified woman asked to be present when the board is making its determination.

Since the baby is far older than 20 weeks, the woman is challenging that 20 week limit provision of the 1971 Act, contending “that with advances in technology it was perfectly safe for a woman to abort a fetus at any point during her pregnancy.” (Emphasis added.)

“The ceiling of 20 weeks is therefore arbitrary, harsh, discriminatory and violative of [violates] Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India,” the petition asserts.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 2015, about 15.6 million unborn babies were aborted in India.

At 28 weeks, an unborn baby has long since reached viability and is pain-sensitive.  Moreover, as the Mayo Clinic website explains,

By now your baby might be nearly 10 inches (250 millimeters) long from crown to rump and weigh nearly 2 1/4 pounds (1,000 grams).  …

[Y]our baby’s eyelids can partially open and eyelashes have formed. The central nervous system can direct rhythmic breathing movements and control body temperature.

Additionally, according to Webmd, a baby at 28 weeks

can do all sorts of things — blink, cough, hiccup, and possibly even dream

In  addition, the story does indicate exactly when the baby’s age was calculated. Moreover, by the time the report is compiled and sent to the High Court, the child will be at least a week older.