Millennium Post

College student moves Bombay HC to abort foetus, cites 'fragile' mental health

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court Wednesday directed the dean of JJ Group of Hospitals here to constitute a panel of doctors to assess the mental health condition of a 20-year-old college student, who has approached the court seeking to terminate her pregnancy.

The petitioner is in 23rd week of pregnancy, which is a result of a "consensual" relationship.

She approached the high court saying though the foetus has no known abnormalities and the pregnancy doesn't pose a threat to her physical well being, carrying the pregnancy to its full term will be detrimental to her mental health.

In her petition, filed through advocate Neha Philip, the woman submitted opinions of some private medical practitioners affirming she suffered from some mental health problems and that her mental condition was "fragile".

The petitioner claimed she was also incapable of having given a coherent consent to such a relationship.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks.

The Act permits abortion after consultation with one doctor up to 12 weeks. Between 12 to 20 weeks, medical opinion of two doctors is required for termination of pregnancy.

Beyond the 20-week, exceptions are legally permissible only if continuation of the pregnancy poses a threat to the mother's health and life.

However, in the recent past, the Supreme Court and several high courts, including several benches of the Bombay High Court, have taken an expansive view of the definition of health and risks to the life of the woman as defined under the Act. These courts have permitted termination of a

pregnancy if it were likely to have an adverse effect on

the woman.

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