Intended for healthcare professionals


Death of baby with anencephaly after mother was refused an abortion sparks controversy in India

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 01 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7320
  1. Mohuya Chaudhuri
  1. 1New Delhi

A recent case of a 22 year old pregnant woman whose baby had anencephaly and who had been denied an abortion by several doctors has sparked a debate about the upper time limit for abortion in India.

Usha Jethwa approached clinics for an abortion after she learnt in July this year that she was carrying a malformed fetus but she was turned away from all of them because she was 26 weeks pregnant at the time the defect was discovered. The baby was born in October and died within hours.

In India abortion is legal but is permitted only in certain circumstances. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy or MTP Act (1971), amended in 2003, allows a …

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