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Supreme Court Protects Privacy While Denying Late-Term Pregnancy Termination

The Supreme Court has denied a woman's request to terminate her over 25-week pregnancy, prioritizing her privacy by keeping the reasons undisclosed. After perusing a report from AIIMS, the court decided against granting permission for the termination. The pregnancy was discovered only recently, and the woman faces financial difficulties.

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The Supreme Court has rejected a plea filed by a woman seeking permission to terminate her over 25-week pregnancy, but refrained from making public the reasons for its decision to protect her privacy.

A vacation bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Satish Chandra Sharma perused a report filed by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi which was asked by the apex court last week to ascertain the physical condition of the woman and her foetus.

”We have perused the report dated May 24, 2024 submitted by All India Institute of Medical Sciences. We are not quoting what is mentioned in the report for protecting the privacy of the petitioner. ”But in the light of the report, we cannot permit termination of pregnancy in the facts of the case. The report shall remain on record in sealed envelope. The writ petition is rejected,” the bench said in its order passed on May 27.

While hearing the plea on May 21, the top court had asked the AIIMS to submit a report before it by May 24 regarding the ”physical health of the petitioner as well as of the foetus and its impact on the former’s unwanted pregnancy”.

It had passed the order on a plea of the woman who claimed she came to know about her pregnancy only on May 17. ”She has come all the way from Dubai and is currently staying in a hotel here. She is not that financially strong,” her counsel had told the apex court on May 21 and urged the bench to allow her to terminate her pregnancy. Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, aborting a foetus that is more than 24 weeks old can be allowed only in cases of substantial foetal abnormality as diagnosed by a medical board or if an opinion is formed in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the pregnant woman.

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