BENGLURU: In a recent judgment, the Karnataka Medical Council (KMC) said a woman needn’t obtain her husband’s consent to get her pregnancy medically terminated.
In 2016, a man had filed a case against his wife and a Ballari-based gynaecologist for terminating her pregnancy without his ‘permission’. The woman had argued before the commission that she’d suffered complications during pregnancy and the termination was done in the second trimester to save her life. In its recent judgment, KMC said there are no rules mandating a husband’s consent for pregnancy termination.
The 26-year-old woman in the first trimester of pregnancy had approached her gynaecologist in Ballari after she noticed bleeding for 20 days. On examination, she was suggested to undergo the dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure to remove the tissue left behind in the womb after miscarriage or childbirth. It was conducted with the consent of the patient and her father in May 2015.
A year later, in 2016, the woman’s husband complained to KMC against his wife and the gynaecologist, alleging the duo had colluded and violated the code of medical ethics. Stating that his consent wasn’t obtained prior to the abortion, he had asked the council to take action against the doctor.
It was an emergency
“According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 and Termination of Pregnancy Rules 2003, there is no need to get the husband’s consent while conducting D&C, and in this particular case, since the patient was bleeding, it was an emergency. To prevent further bleeding as well as infection, termination of pregnancy was conducted by the doctor. Hence the complaint is dismissed,” read the KMC order. It added there was no violation of the code of medical ethics by the doctor.
KMC president Dr Veerabhadrappa said the gynaecologist was not at fault as the law doesn’t mandate the husband’s consent for pregnancy termination.