‘On your responsibility’: Calcutta HC allows abortion for 34 week pregnant woman

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In an unprecedented decision, the Calcutta High Court, considering the post-delivery complications of the mother and the child, on Thursday allowed a 34 weeks pregnant woman to undergo abortion.

So far, the Supreme Court allowed abortion only upto 24 weeks.

However, the High Court made it clear that neither it nor the doctors will take the responsibility for the woman during abortion.

The incident came to the fore when a couple of north Kolkata applied to the state government for abortion. The middle-aged woman, who had a late pregnancy, not only had some physical complications but medical reports showed that the foetus had some problems on the spinal cord which might lead to further medical complications after the birth. The woman was 34 weeks pregnant and prayed for abortion, else it would lead to medical complications both for the mother and the child.

As abortion after 24 weeks was virtually impossible so she was denied permission by the state Medical Department and the couple was forced to move the Calcutta High Court.

The case came up for hearing before a bench of Justice Rajsekhara Mantha, who asked the woman whether she would like to go in for an abortion and she said that she had made this decision keeping in mind her physical illness.

Maternity lawyer Sutapa Sanyal said the couple had planned the child for a long time but it was not possible because the woman had some physical problems.

Though the couple on a a child following doctors’ advice, physical complications started to increase after her pregnancy. The condition of the foetus is also not well and according to the doctors, both the mother and the child are likely to have physical complications after the birth and so the woman prayed for abortion.

The court formed a nine-member medical board and a report was submitted before the court on Thursday following which the court allowed the woman to go for abortion. This is perhaps the first time in the country when woman will undergo abortion at such an advanced stage of pregnancy. The court, however, made it clear that the plaintiff will have to take entire responsibility of the abortion and neither the court nor the doctors will be responsible for any kind of medical complications.

State government lawyer Amitesh Bandyopadhyay said the High Court had taken the decision.

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