SC: Don't abort foetus with Down Syndrome

'We've a life in our hands'

SC: Don't abort foetus with Down Syndrome

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined permission to a woman in her 26th week of pregnancy, to abort her foetus on the ground that it suffered from ‘Down Syndrome’, saying "we have a life in our hands".

The court relied upon a report of the medical board constituted to examine the 37-year-old woman, which stated there was no physical risk to the mother in continuation of pregnancy.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao observed that “everybody knows that children with Down Syndrome are undoubtedly less intelligent, but they are fine people.”

Down Syndrome is a congenital disorder which causes intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities. The woman, a resident of Maharashtra, had approached the apex court seeking nod to terminate her pregnancy saying that apart from serious mental and physical health problems for the child on birth, even her life was in danger.

The bench said as per the report, the foetus is “likely to have mental and physical challenges” but the advice of the doctors does not warrant termination of pregnancy.

“With this report, we don’t think we are going to allow termination of zpregnancy. We have a life in our hands,” the bench said.

The bench had on February 23 constituted a medical board comprising doctors of Mumbai-based KEM Hospital to examine the woman and file a report about her condition and advisability of permitting medical termination of pregnancy forthwith.

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