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Supreme Court Seeks Center's Take on Abortion Laws

2017-10-17 16:05:57
Supreme Court Seeks Center's Take on Abortion Laws

Amidst major concerns raised over rape victims and minor girls getting pregnant and unable to abort the baby due to expiry of permitted time (20 weeks), the Supreme Court has sought the view of the Govt. in framing guidelines for devising a mechanism to tackle circumstances where termination of pregnancy is sought after 20 weeks of gestation. The current position in the MTP Act does not allow termination of pregnancy in case of fetuses that have completed 20 weeks of growth, and the victims of rape, who end up pregnant, including minor girls, had to approach the Court seeking permission to terminate the pregnancy, which is often denied on medical grounds of the risk involved. It created a wide uproar and debate when a 10-year old girl impregnated by her uncle had to approach the Court seeking permission to abort, and the same was denied owing to the risk involved since she was over 30 weeks pregnant, subsequent to which she gave birth to a baby girl in August. There come up plenty of cases in which child victims or women come to know of the pregnancy past 20 weeks, and the Act prohibits abortion in the case, leaving them with no avail but to approach the Court for permission.

There has been the widespread demand of amendment in the Act since a long time since the long drawn process of approaching the Court seeking permission pushes the pregnancy into further advancement, and it is psychologically beyond traumatic for rape victims – especially the children. In the prevalent circumstance, Karnataka based AnushaRavindrafiled a petition to the apex Court to amend the MTP Act, wherein the Court held that it cannot carry out the legislative function of amendment, while it asked the Ministries of Health, Women and Child Development and the Medical Council Of India to submit within 4 weeks their views on framing of guidelines for setting up a permanent mechanism for termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks in exceptional cases.

 

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