Monday, the Supreme Court delegated Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati to meet with a 20-year-old lady seeking permission to terminate her over 29-week pregnancy after a medical test at AIIMS revealed that there is a strong likelihood that the foetus will be alive when removed.
Heading a three-judge bench, Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud stated that according to the AIIMS study, the fetus had an 80% probability of survival. “Even if she wants an abortion immediately, it must be a caesarean section, and there is an 80% probability that the child will be born alive.” The CJI reported that once a child is born, even through a c-section, it will require neonatal care.
The woman’s attorney stated that she had read the report and remained steadfast in her choice to terminate the pregnancy. “I spoke with the petitioner about it. She also saw the report. She does not desire it (the pregnancy). “She asks how she will be able to attend college, stating that her career and dignity will be jeopardized,” the attorney added.
The CJI stated that the court is equally concerned and that the problem is solely the stage at which she appeared before the court. “That is why we requested AIIMS investigate.” What AIIMS is essentially saying to us is that if you instruct us not to provide neonatal care to the fetus, we won’t. As soon as doctors perform a caesarean section, however, they must place the infant or fetus in neonatal care. This is close to eight months,” stated the court.
The Bench, which also included Justices V Subramanian and J. B. Pardiwala, then requested that ASG Bhati communicate with the petitioner. Bhati said that she would be delighted to assist. She further noted that the AIIMS report stated that the petitioner may seek counseling from the hospital’s psychiatry section.
The court then stated in its judgment, “Considering the contents of the report, we have recommended that Ms. Aishwarya Bhati contact the petitioner as an officer of the court and assist her accordingly.” The AIIMS experts suggested that the petitioner seek counseling at the psychiatric OPD.
On January 19, the court ordered the director of AIIMS to assemble a committee of doctors to determine if the pregnancy can be safely terminated.