Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 12:28 UK

Abortion-ban Indian's baby dies

Niketa and Haresh Mehta (Photo: Fotocorp)
The couple had urged the court to allow a delayed abortion

An Indian woman who sparked a nationwide debate after being denied a late-term abortion for her 25-week foetus has had a still birth.

Niketa Mehta, of Mumbai (Bombay), went to the high court after doctors said the child had a heart defect.

India does not permit termination of pregnancies after 20 weeks unless it could prove fatal to the mother.

The court last week rejected their plea after medics said the baby - the Mehtas first child - could be treated.

The committee of doctors also advised that an abortion could prove dangerous at that stage.

The couple urged the court to allow a late abortion because they learned about the problem only in the 24th week of pregnancy.

They said the child would need a pacemaker from birth and would be unable to lead a normal life.

The Mehtas also said they might not be able to afford the expensive medical treatment the baby would need.

A non-governmental organisation had offered to look after the baby if it was born with any disability but the Mehtas turned them down.


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