Central Government Seeks Reevaluation in Delhi High Court for Widow's 29-Week Pregnancy Termination

The Central Government has formally filed a petition to the Delhi High Court, urging a reevaluation of its prior ruling that permitted a widow to terminate her 29-week pregnancy. The government contends that the unborn child stands a considerable chance of survival, emphasizing the court’s responsibility to uphold the right to life for the unborn.

AIIMS, in response, advocates for a more extended gestation period, suggesting that delivering the child at 34 weeks or beyond would yield better outcomes for both mother and baby. Stressing the fetus’s reportedly good health in this case, AIIMS deems feticide unnecessary and ethically questionable.

Following the court’s decision on January 4, the plea was accepted, allowing for the termination of the widow’s 29-week pregnancy. The decision was based on the potential adverse effects on her mental health. The court acknowledged the woman’s right to reproductive choice, including the decision not to procreate, considering her changed marital status following her husband’s demise on October 19, 2023.

The court arrived at its decision considering the mental health condition of the woman, which was marked by depression and inclinations towards suicidal thoughts. However, the Union health ministry, relying on medical opinions, asserts in its application that terminating the pregnancy may lead to complications necessitating feticide to avoid pre-term delivery issues.

The court has mandated AIIMS to furnish a thorough report on the mental and physical condition of both the woman and the fetus. The woman, who married in February 2023, learned about her pregnancy at 20 weeks following the death of her husband in October. In December, she sought medical assistance to terminate the pregnancy, driven by the profound trauma stemming from her husband’s demise.

Source: Inputs from various media Sources

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Priya Bairagi

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