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Calcutta HC directs woman who wants to terminate pregnancy to appear before medical board

Considering the urgency as the woman is 25 weeks pregnant, Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty directed the West Bengal Additional Advocate General to submit the report of the board on Monday.  

Reported by: PTI, Kolkata [ Published on: January 11, 2019 17:26 IST ]

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The Calcutta High Court Friday directed a woman, who wants to terminate her pregnancy due to an anomaly in the foetus' development, to appear before a medical board Saturday for examination.

Considering the urgency as the woman is 25 weeks pregnant, Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty directed the West Bengal Additional Advocate General to submit the report of the board on Monday.

Petitioning the high court, the woman sought permission to terminate her pregnancy since anomaly tests of the foetus showed that its brain was underdeveloped.

The court noted that test reports showed that the brain condition of the foetus was such that there was every possibility of the child being abnormal on birth.

It also noted that the report said the continuance of pregnancy may be fatal to the petitioner.

The woman and her husband were present in the court room when the order was delivered.

Justice Chakraborty directed the petitioner to appear before the medical board through the director of Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (SSKM Hospital) here on Saturday morning for her examination.

Additional Advocate General Abhratosh Majumdar earlier told the court that on a request from the Central government to constitute permanent medical boards for such purpose in all states, the West 

Bengal government has formed such a board at the premier referral hospital IPGMER.

The board consists of doctors from the departments of Gynaecology, Pediatrics, Neurology, Pathology, Radiology, Pulmonology and Genetics, Majumdar submitted.

The 32-year-old woman approached the high court Thursday seeking permission to terminate her pregnancy owing to an anomaly in the formation of the foetus.

The petitioner claimed before the court of Justice Chakraborty that the tests done during various stages of her pregnancy showed that the brain of the foetus is underdeveloped.

The reports also showed that the condition of the foetus was deteriorating, her lawyer Amitabha Ghosh submitted before the court.

According to the Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971, permission of the high court is required for undergoing abortion if the foetus is more than 20 weeks old, Ghosh said.

A medical board is required to be formed to examine the case and give its opinion to the court on whether to allow the termination of pregnancy or not.

Ghosh submitted that a gynaecologist had on December 26 prescribed immediate abortion in view of the condition of the foetus.

On January 7, the woman was examined by another specialist doctor who told her that a permission of the court be sought for abortion, he said.

The woman is a resident of south Kolkata. Her husband works in a private company, Ghosh said. 

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