The Supreme Court of India has issued a ruling prohibiting the killing of a 26-week-old unborn baby in an abortion, saying the court can’t grant permission to stop the baby’s heart from beating.
Abortion is legal in India but exceptions to the abortion law such as late-term abortions require legal justification. That’s why a 26-year-old woman appeared in court last week asking for legal permission to end the life of her viable unborn baby.
The woman asked the court to allow the late-term abortion because she claims she is suffering from depression and can’t support a third child “emotionally, financially and mentally”. Never mind that abortions cause a host of mental health problems for women and obviously end a baby’s life.
But the court told the woman that, even though the law in India allows abortions almost on demand, she must consider the rights of her baby as well.
Ultimately, the high court denied the abortion:
The Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra noted that the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, after reporting that the foetus was healthy and viable, had sought for a clarification from the Court on whether they could proceed to stop the heart of the foetus for termination of pregnancy.
The Apex Court further pointed out that the only two exceptions to terminate a pregnancy beyond the outer limit of 24 weeks as per the MTP Act were that there was an immediate threat to the mother and that it was a case of foetal abnormality.
Both these exceptions were not there in the present case, it said and directed the State to bear the cost of all medical procedure in the matter.
The three-judge Bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra expressed serious concerns about allowing the application, noting that permitting termination at this stage, after the medical report has said that the foetus has a high chance of survival, may amount to foeticide.
Chief Justice Chandrachud said, “The bench questioned why the woman did not seek permission for abortion earlier. What was she doing for 26 weeks? She already has two children? Why come now? Do we issue an order for the child’s death through a judicial ruling?”.
“We cannot stop the heartbeat,” the Chief Justice added.
The woman’s attorney claims she had no idea she was pregnant until the baby was already 24 weeks along.
In response, the counsel representing the woman, a mother of two, argued, ” She came to know about this pregnancy after 24 weeks and she is not in the right state of mind to give birth to the third child. She is not educated enough and she is on depression medicines.”
Last week, LifeNews reported on a 23-week-old baby who could have been legally aborted but just went home from the hospital. The baby in this case is 3 weeks older and obviously a viable human being who should not be killed in an abortion.
The image below shows an unborn baby at 26 weeks.