Archbishop of Bombay asks parents not to abort unborn child with heart defect

Niketa and Haresh Mehta
Niketa and Haresh Mehta


Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, on Sunday appealed to a couple seeking legal permission to abort their unborn child due to its congenital heart defect, asking them to stop seeking legal permission to abort the 25-week-old fetus. Cardinal Gracias promised that the Church would take care of the baby if it were allowed to be born.

In the most recent development, a court in Mumbai on Tuesday rejected parents Niketa and Haresh Mehta’s petition to be allowed to have an abortion, the BBC News reports.

Under India’s laws, abortions are not permitted after 20 weeks into a pregnancy unless it poses a threat to the life of the mother. The Mhetas’ case is considered a key test of India’s abortion law.

The Mumbai High Court called together a committee of doctors to assess the risks if the pregnancy continued and also the risks if an abortion was performed on the woman. The doctors held that there was a lesser chance of the baby being born without a handicap, while a late-term abortion would be risky for the mother.

The Mehtas’ doctor told the court that certain ailments could be only detected between the 20th and 24th weeks of pregnancy. The couple also argued that their child would need a pacemaker from birth and would not be able to lead a normal life.

They also said the cost for a $2,500 pacemaker operation might not be affordable for them, as the pacemaker must be changed every few years.

Cardinal Gracias offered the Church’s help to the couple on Sunday and condemned all abortions, continuing his activities from earlier this year, the India Catholic says.

In a January interview, the cardinal endorsed a U.N. moratorium on abortion, saying in an interview “It is an utmost necessity that the international community is sensitized to creating and building a culture of life. Abortion is a horrendous evil and has become a threat to human dignity because it directly attacks life itself.”

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