The Supreme Court on Monday refused permission to a woman to abort her 27-week-old foetus showing signs of severe physical abnormalities.
A bench of Justices S A Bobdey and L Nageshwara Rao referred to the report of the medical board, which has examined the woman, and said that as per the opinion of the doctors the baby may be "born alive" if the mother is allowed to abort at this stage.
The apex court also observed that as per the doctors' opinion the physical condition of the woman is normal and there is no risk to her health.
"As regard to the foetus, the report states that, if the pregnancy is terminated in the 27th week, there is a possibility that the baby may be born alive," the bench observed.
"We don't consider it appropriate to direct the petitioner (woman) to terminate the foetus," the apex court said.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the bench that as per the report of the medical board of the Mumbai-based K E M Hospital, the foetus has severe physical abnormalities but the doctors have not advised termination as she is in her 27th week of pregnancy.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks even if there is a fatal risk to the mother and the foetus.