The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act: Need to keep pace with technology

Somashekhar Marutirao Nimbalkar, Dharti Sanjay Patel


Abstract

In the summer of 2017, the Supreme Court of India denied permission to abort a 26-week-old foetus, detected with Down syndrome at 22 weeks, to a family which already had a child with special needs, on the grounds that the 20-week mark specified in The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 had been crossed. An Act well formulated and ahead of its time at inception seems not to have kept pace with technology and to be in need of change. We argue that by denying the abortion the Court did not adhere to the core principle of ethics—respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance, and justice—as the mother was not allowed to decide for herself and was forced to abide by the decision taken by the court.

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