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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Have SOP for hospitals concerning termination of pregnancy beyond 24 weeks: HC to Maharashtra govt

The high court said the provisions of the amended MTP Act permit termination of pregnancy exceeding 24 weeks if the medical board thinks that way and has diagnosed that the foetus has substantial abnormalities

PTI Mumbai Published 11.04.24, 04:17 PM
Bombay High Court.

Bombay High Court. File picture.

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to formulate a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for handling cases related to termination of pregnancy beyond 24 weeks.

A division bench of Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Nitin Sambre in its order of April 5 noted that the amended Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act permits termination of pregnancy beyond 24 weeks in cases of severe abnormalities in the foetus.

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Under the amended provisions of the Act, the state government is required to constitute medical boards in each district which has the power and discretion to allow or deny termination of pregnancy beyond 24 weeks of gestation period.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by a woman seeking termination of her 32-week pregnancy due to abnormalities in the foetus.

As per the plea, the general hospital in Wardha informed the woman about the fetal abnormalities during her 24th-week scan.

While giving relief to the woman, the bench noted that it was disturbing that instead of referring her to the medical board directly, the hospital asked the petitioner to approach the court to seek termination of the pregnancy.

The high court said the provisions of the amended MTP Act permit termination of pregnancy exceeding 24 weeks if the medical board thinks that way and has diagnosed that the foetus has substantial abnormalities.

“Under the Scheme of the MTP Act as amended up-to-date, there is no such requirement of seeking any permission from the court by any woman who intends to get her pregnancy terminated even if the pregnancy is beyond 24 weeks,” HC said.

The court directed the state’s Department of Public Health and the Department of Medical Education and Drugs to formulate an SOP which shall be issued to all government hospitals and medical colleges across Maharashtra.

“We expect that this Standard Operating Procedure, to be prepared by experts in the field, shall be formulated and notified by the State Government within a period of two months,” the court said, posting the matter for further hearing on June 12.

The SOP, once put in place and implemented, would ensure that no woman needs to move court seeking permission for termination of pregnancy if she is entitled to do so under the provisions of the MTP Act, the HC said.

The bench permitted the woman to terminate the pregnancy and directed the general hospital in Wardha to bear the expenses.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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