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5 Jul 2017

Legal battle won, woman starts abortion process

Prithvijit Mitra | TNN | Jul 5, 2017, Kolkata: The woman, who was allowed by the Supreme Court to terminate her 26-week pregnancy, got admitted to SSKM Hospital on Tuesday. She will have her foetus - afflicted with an irreversible cardiac ailment - aborted by a non-surgical procedure that may take to two days. The procedure will be supervised by the seven-member expert committee formed last week to assess the condition of the foetus.
Soon after her admission, she was put on medication under the supervision of Subhas Biswas, head of the department of gynaecology, SSKM. It could take 48 hours to complete the procedure that mimics a normal delivery or a caesarian section one. "It is in no way different from delivering a live baby. Generally, it is a non-surgical method and uses medicines that make the uterus contract, open and eject the foetus that either comes out naturally or is surgically extracted. The risk to her life is minimal. In fact, it is far safer than the thousands of illegal abortions," said Nikhil Datar, Mumbai-based health activist and gynaecologist who helped the woman file her petition in Supreme Court.
Cardiac surgeon Devi Shetty, who has checked the woman's medical reports, felt the court verdict was a step in right direction. He, however, added that it was time to amend the existing Termination of Pregnancy Act and allow abortions till at least 28 weeks in cases like this. "The foetus has a condition called cardiac atresia which is not curable even through multiple surgeries. Chances are that the child would have died within a month of its birth. Even if it survived, its quality of life would have been extremely poor. This would have obviously taken a heavy toll on the mental condition of the parents," said Shetty from Bengaluru.
The woman's family members said they were relieved at the court verdict and were anxiously waiting for the procedure to get over. Even though medicine-induced abortions are generally non-surgical, a surgery might be required in some cases. "Since it's no different from delivering a child, you may need to cut open the stomach. But the procedure is safer than a normal delivery since the foetus is immature and hence smaller than a full-term baby. Secondly, doctors don't have to worry about the risk to the child," said Datar.



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