Delhi High Court refused to allow unmarried women to have an abortion in the 23rd week. The court said, “Permission to do so is tantamount to killing a fetus.” A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma said that the petitioner should be kept in a safe place till the child is given birth, after which the newborn child can be adopted.
There is no dearth of child adopters today, the bench said. Many people are in the queue. The counsel for the petitioner said that the petitioner is under extreme mental stress at this stage of conceiving while unmarried and becoming a mother. And she will not be able to give birth to a child and then her upbringing will also be very difficult.
The lawyer also said that the Bar’s law regarding medical termination of pregnancy in respect of unmarried women is highly discriminatory. To this the bench said, we are not asking the petitioner to take care of the child. We will ensure that the unmarried is kept in a safe place till the birth of the child and her health is taken care of.
She can go after giving birth to her baby. We will give her child in adoption to someone. But we cannot allow you to kill the child at this time. The bench observed that out of 36 weeks of her pregnancy, about 24 weeks are nearing completion.
Chief Justice said, “Will not allow the child’s murder”
The Chief Justice told the petitioner’s lawyer, to explain to their client. He said they assure that where is she kept, and where did she go after giving birth to the baby, all this will be kept strictly confidential. The Central or Delhi Government will take full care of its maintenance.
She will be admitted to the best hospital and better medical facilities will be provided. The Chief Justice said, “Not only this, I also offer to bear the entire cost from my side, but at this time I cannot allow the killing of a child in the womb.”
Lawyer’s argument… it’s discriminatory
The counsel for the petitioner argued that abortion under the Abortion Act after 20 weeks for the cases of unmarried women is discriminatory in view of the relief that is available to divorced women and certain other categories of women up to 24 weeks.
She said that the law allows unmarried women to undergo medical abortion of pregnancy up to 20 weeks, but the petitioner, who was in a consensual relationship, has approached the High Court at the present stage due to the abandonment by her partner. The counsel also turned down the suggestion of the court saying that the petitioner does not want to have a child anymore.