The law is silent on who can take a call in an instance of a requirement of an abortion after 20 weeks. Legally, doctors are not allowed to take a call on this. Therefore, your only recourse will be to approach the Courts to allow you to have an abortion.
Many cases have gone to Courts where a request has been made to medically terminate the foetus after 20 weeks because of several reasons such as:
- The pregnancy is harmful to the health of the woman.
- The pregnancy would result in abnormalities for the baby.
- The pregnancy was caused due to rape.
- The abortion before 20 weeks could not be done because of the negligence of medical authorities.
Courts usually refer to a Medical Board or a Medical Panel set up in hospitals which will look into the pregnancy to determine whether the abortion should be conducted taking into account the health and well-being of both the mother and the foetus. After carefully considering the opinion of the Board or Panel, they then take a decision on whether abortion beyond 20 weeks is allowed. The decisions made by Courts are usually on a case-to-case basis.
For more information on access to safe abortions, please refer to this government handbook.
Radhika was 27 weeks pregnant when she was able to petition the Supreme Court to allow her to end her pregnancy. The pregnancy was caused as a result of rape, thus causing her mental distress. The Supreme Court ordered that Radhika be examined by a Medical Board to decide whether the pregnancy posed a threat to her life or that of her foetus. The Medical Board advised against the termination of the foetus or abortion. The Court relying on the Medical Boards opinion did not grant her the request to conduct an abortion.0