Centre asks states, UTs to set up medical boards to decide abortion cases

NationPosted at: Aug 31, 2017, 9:02 PM; last updated: Aug 31, 2017, 9:16 PM (IST)

Thinkstock photo for representation.

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 31


The Centre has asked all the states and union territories to set up permanent medical boards to decide abortion cases where pregnancy has crossed the 20-week limit prescribed under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
During the hearing of an abortion case from Pune, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told a Bench headed by Justice SA Bobde that the government has written to states and union territories in this regard keeping in view the court’s directive.
“The Union of India has communicated to all the states and union territories about having such medical boards in place,” Kumar told the Bench which also included Justice LN Rao. He said the Centre has suggested speedy disposal of such cases.
Taking note of a large number of petitions seeking permission to terminate pregnancy coming to the top court, a Bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India JS Khehar had last month suggested to the government to consider setting up a permanent medical board in every district to take quick decisions in such cases.
It had asked Kumar to convey its suggestion to the government.
The top court had made the suggestion in view of the fact that under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, a woman is not permitted to abort her foetus after the pregnancy crosses 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life is at risk.
It’s for this reason that often pregnant women move the top court for permission to terminate pregnancy that has crossed 20 weeks.
On Thursday, the top court allowed a woman from Pune to abort her 25-week foetus after a medical board concluded that it had no brain and skull and there was no treatment available for the condition.
According to opinion of the medical board, the condition of the foetus was not compatible with life and continuation of the…

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