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NEW DELHI (LifeSiteNews) — The Supreme Court of India rejected the plea of a woman seeking to abort her over 27-week-old baby, with one of the justices stating the child has a fundamental right to life.

A three-member bench of the Indian Supreme Court, headed by Justice B.R. Gavai, refused to consider the plea of a 20-year-old unmarried woman on Wednesday. The woman challenged a previous ruling delivered by the Delhi High Court on May 3. Also on the bench were Justices S.V.N. Bhatti and Sandeep Mehta.

“We cannot pass an order contrary to the statute,” Gavai said, referring to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, which holds that pregnancies after 24 weeks can take place only after a medical board finds a significant fetal abnormality and that the life of the mother is in danger.

The mother’s counsel attempted to convince the bench, claiming that the mother’s physical and mental health were at risk, to which Mehta responded, “Seven months pregnant! What about the life of the child in the womb? The child in the womb also has a fundamental right to live.” Mehta repeated his point when the counsel said the MTP Act was “made” for mothers.

The counsel also said that until the child is born, the right of the mother takes precedent, adding that the petitioner is “under severe traumatic condition,” studying for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exams, which would allow her to pursue undergraduate classes in medicine, and cannot face society “at this stage.” Once again referring to the mother’s physical and mental health, he said that neither the High Court nor the medical board considered them.

The mother said before the Delhi High Court on April 16 that after experiencing discomfort and heaviness in her abdomen, she underwent an ultrasound and found that she was 27 weeks’ pregnant. The court said in its ruling that it instructed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to set up a medical board to examine the condition of both mother and baby on April 25.

“A perusal of the [medical board’s] report shows that there is no congenital abnormality in the [fetus] nor is there any danger to the mother to carry on with the pregnancy which will mandate termination of the [fetus],” the court said in its ruling.

“Since the [fetus] is viable and normal, and there is no danger to the petitioner to carry on with the pregnancy, [feticide] would neither be ethical nor legally permissible,” it added. The court further stated the mother could speak to the Union Government if she wanted to put the baby up for adoption, the Government also being instructed to make the process as easy as possible, as soon as possible.

The Wednesday decision comes a little over three weeks after another bench of the Indian Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, overturned a ruling from the Bombay High Court denying a 14-year-old rape victim the ability to abort her 30-week-old baby.

Originally passed in 1971, the MTP Act legalized abortion in India. In 2021, India passed an amendment to the law, allowing abortions up to 20 weeks with only one doctor’s signature, and between 20 and 24 weeks into pregnancy for “therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian and social” reasons, with the 24-week limit liable to extension if the baby showed signs of “substantial fetal abnormalities.” Previously, abortions were allowed between 12-20 weeks of pregnancy as long as one had two doctors’ signatures.

In 2022, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that all women, regardless of marital status, could access abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, as unmarried women could not abort their children after 20 weeks of pregnancy, compared with married women’s 24.