A 42-year-old woman Friday sought the Calcutta High Court’s permission to terminate her 28-week pregnancy after medical reports suggested that her child would be born with Down Syndrome, along with problems in the oesophagus, heart and abdomen.
Her lawyers, Kallol Basu and Apalak Basu, approached the division bench of the court after its single bench refused permission for the abortion.
Stating that losing a child is a mother’s worst nightmare, the woman pleaded that her age and financial status will come in the way of giving the child required treatment and care.
The lawyers also told the division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice B Somadder that the child would suffer in absence of proper medical care owing to the family”s humble financial condition.
They said that the petitioner, a homemaker, would approach a registered private facility for the medical process, if permission is granted, as government hospitals are averse to aborting a foetus at such an advanced stage.
Her husband (48) works in a private firm, earning a very modest salary, they reasoned.
The couple have another school-going child who is 13 years old.
The division bench, also comprising Justice Arindam Mukherjee, concluded the hearing and reserved its judgment, which it is likely to be delivered at the beginning of the coming week, given the urgency in the matter.
According to the Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971, permission of high court is required to abort a foetus which is 20 weeks old or more.
A single bench of the high court had on January 29 refused permission to the woman to terminate her pregnancy, when the foetus was 26-week old.
A medical board at the state-run SSKM Hospital had in a report to the court said the prognosis of the baby is likely to be better if it is delivered on completion of the full term of pregnancy.
The board also said test reports have suggested that the foetus was suffering from Down Syndrome, along with defects in the oesophagus, heart and abdomen.
Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty had noted that the report did not mention any threat to the petitioner’s life.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that involves birth defects, intellectual disabilities and characteristic facial features.