Delhi High Court allows widow suffering from mental trauma to terminate 27-week pregnancy [5.1.2024]

The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted a 23-year-old woman the right to medically terminate her 27-week pregnancy after she submitted she was not in the best of mental state following the death of her husband in October last year.

Justice Subramonium Prasad allowed the woman's plea after reviewing submissions about her condition following the demise of her husband and her psychiatric evaluation report.

"There is a change in the marital status of the petitioner. The petitioner has become a widow. The psychiatric evaluation report of the AIIMS indicates that the petitioner is suffering from extreme trauma due to the death of her husband," the judge said.

The petitioner's mental state is such that she could lose her mental balance, and she has suicidal tendencies, the court noted.

"This court is of the opinion that, at this juncture, the petitioner should be permitted to terminate her pregnancy because allowing her to continue with the pregnancy can impair her mental stability as she is showing suicidal tendencies," the judge said.

The court directed AIIMS to initiate the procedure for terminating the woman's pregnancy.

"Accordingly, the petitioner is permitted to undergo the procedure for termination of her pregnancy at AIIMS. AIIMS is requested to conduct the procedure even though the petitioner has crossed her gestation period of 24 weeks," it noted in its judgment.

The petitioner had been admitted to the psychiatry ward at AIIMS, where she underwent psychiatric evaluation. Despite the medical board initially not recommending termination, the woman's counsel, Dr Amit Mishra, argued that her mental and physical trauma, aggravated by her inability to eat, justified the termination of her pregnancy.

Mishra further stated that forcing a woman to continue the pregnancy was a violation of her privacy.

06 Jan 2024