- The ‘educated’ woman is held responsible when it comes to matters of rape, abuse and consent but in this matter is her ‘education and understanding’ not enough to save a life?
The judges said that abortion of a foetus over 20 weeks old could be allowed only if there was a danger to the life of the mother or the foetus had no chance of survival, also citing the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP Act).
After the taking in the view of a panel of doctors the judges said children suffering from Down Syndrome were “as affectionate and lovable as any normal child and they could lead a normal life, despite having some deficiencies".
While the Supreme Court has absolutely every right to pronounce judgement on what it thinks could be beneficial for a person, in this case, I wish to slightly disagree with the SC. By denying this woman the permission to abort her foetus, the top court could be setting a wrong precedent for future courts.
In the very beginning, I would like to establish that I am not for or against the abortion but presently, my problem is with the way the Supreme Court expects such parents to carry on with their lives as if everything were normal. “Despite deficiencies” a “normal life” is not that very easy and feeling “sad for the mother” does not count.
Tomorrow, if the parents of the said ‘foetus’ are unable to bring up a child with special needs, or suffer from mental anguish torn between the life and death decision, how will the Supreme Court help?
This denial of the plea is akin to curtailing the right of a woman to choose. A child with special needs is not something all parents can or are willing to take care of. The ‘life of the mother’ should be interpreted broadly to include all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well-being of the patient. Probably by taking these factors into consideration, the court could reconsider their judgement. Like in the American court case of Roe v Wade and later on modified with Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v Casey.
Women should be allowed to decide if they want to go ahead with the pregnancy knowing that their child may or may not be normal (I detest using this word, but am forced to considering the context). Where is the right of the woman over her body? The ‘educated’ woman is held responsible when it comes to matters of rape, abuse and consent but in this matter is her ‘education and understanding not enough to save a life?
Isn’t she bringing the foetus to term? If she feels the foetus will not receive a conducive environment or enjoy a certain quality of life then should she not have the right to decide? The Supreme Court needs to also take into account this part of the law and reality of affairs, to see how this affects the life, right and ‘health’ of a woman.
Babies cannot and should be made to order. Here, the court has ruled that the report did not conclusively say that the child would be born with physical or mental abnormalities. True, but when the report shows proof of the same and the child happens to be born with deformities, surely the parents will have these questions racing through their minds: Had they caused the disability? How terrible would their child’s life be? What impact would it have on their family? How would the parents cope?
There are many parents who wish that their child were never born because of the complications involved and yet there are many who thank God for giving such children as a blessing into their lives.
My position is that even if the foetus is allowed to be born, then can the Supreme Court promise the child a good quality of life? A life free from wondering why they are different from the others? Why things take so long for them to understand?
A lot of you may tend to agree with the Supreme Court basing your arguments on the foetus having a life and killing a life is definitely not allowed. I am also for it. But I ask you, put yourselves in the shoes of these parents, think about the hardship, the mental anguish, the pain the parents will have to go through their whole life knowing that their child may not live long, may not be able to lead a life like others. Who will take care of their child in their old age? Do we have answers? Sadly, no.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:47 PM