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Himanshu Roy

JWB Blogger

This Historic Judgment By The SC Deserves A Standing Ovation

  • JWB Post
  •  July 26, 2016


In a historical move, the Supreme Court has allowed a survivor of sexual assault to abort her 24-week-old foetus. The judgment is a landmark in the way that in India, it is not permitted to abort a foetus which is more than 20-week-old.

The decision of the apex court came after a woman, who was raped by her ex-fiance on the pretext of marriage challenged the existing law. It has been learnt that her foetus suffers from a severe defect called anencephaly under which the baby is born without parts of the brain and skull.

The doctors discovered that the foetus could put the physical and mental health of the mother at risk if it is not aborted. In her plea to the Supreme Court, the woman had said that the existing laws in India don’t allow abortion of a foetus more than 20-week-old even if it could be fatal for the mother.

The Supreme Court, in turn, had sought the report of the medical panel of King Edward Memorial College and Hospital in Mumbai and the doctors on the panel had said that the foetus has several abnormalities, and it will be better to get it aborted. The judgment came after the judged were satisfied with the report of this panel.

This is surely a huge success when it comes to addressing issues relating to sexual violence. The woman has said that she would want India to permit such exceptions in cases where a woman becomes pregnant as a result of sexual violence and wants to abort the foetus.

While the current laws are silent on this issue, even a layman would understand that after the trauma that a woman has to deal with as a result of sexual violence, the fact that she has no choice but to give birth to a baby against her will is even more tragic. We hope that the law makes exceptions in such cases and leave the choice with the woman.

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