09/08/2021, 15.04
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Kerala High Court against therapeutic abortion if mother's life is not at risk

by Nirmala Carvalho

For the court, called to rule on a request for termination of pregnancy in the 31st week, there is no reason to treat an unborn child differently from a born child. For Dr Carvalho, this “is not primarily a religious position, but a human one.”


Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Kerala High Court recently issued an important ruling on the long-standing question of termination of pregnancy in India.

Judge P.B. Suresh Kumar rejected a petition requesting the termination of a pregnancy in the 31st week.

He notes that the diagnosed fetal abnormalities are not lethal for the unborn child, and do not constitute a threat to the life or health of the mother.

For the court, the unborn child’s right to life prevails over the woman’s personal choice. There is no reason to treat an unborn child differently from a born child.

What is more, terminating a pregnancy after the 24th week is possible if there is a substantial risk that the child may be born with serious physical or mental abnormalities, so as to be severely handicapped.

Only the medical board, evaluating the facts, can determine whether the aforementioned circumstances warrant the termination of the pregnancy beyond the terms established by law.

Recent rulings suggest that the High Court is trying to balance the rights of the mother and those of the unborn child based on the fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Speaking with AsiaNews, Dr Pascoal Carvalho, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, expressed his satisfaction with this decision.

“The Holy Father has affirmed the Catholic Church's total opposition to abortion is not primarily a religious position, but a human one,” Dr Carvalho said.

The “practical, human and spiritual difficulties are undeniable, but precisely for this reason more incisive pastoral actions are urgent and necessary to sustain those who receive sick children.”

Dr Carvalho, who is also a member of the Archdiocesan Human Life Committee, added that “In the Archdiocese of Bombay, we have homes of Mother Teresa where countless special needs babies are welcomed, loved and cared for by the selfless and dedicated service of Missionaries of Charity.”

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