Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 769–771 | Cite as

Abortion of Fetus with Down’s Syndrome: India Joins the Worldwide Controversy Surrounding Abortion Laws

  • Alankrita Taneja
  • Sharath Burugina Nagaraja
  • Jagadish Rao Padubidri
  • Mohammed Madadin
  • Ritesh G. Menezes
Brief Communication


Abortion continues to be a moral and ethical dilemma in medicine. While abortions in general have always faced social stigmas, the abortion of fetuses with Down’s syndrome in particular remains the subject of debate across the globe. In India, under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortion is legal under prescribed circumstances only till 20 weeks of gestation. Laws for abortion after 20 week of gestation are ill defined. In a recent ruling of the Supreme Court in India, a woman was denied the right to abortion of her 26 week old fetus. With this ruling, India has joined the rest of the world in the debate surrounding abortion laws and the ethics of abortion.


Abortion laws Medical termination of pregnancy Down’s syndrome Ethical and legal aspects 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

All the authors declare that they have no competing interest.


  1. BBC documentary: aborting babies with Down syndrome. (2016). Accessed on 3 May 2017.
  2. Choudhary, A. A. (2017). Woman can’t abort fetus with Down syndrome: SC. Mar 1, 2017. Accessed on 3 Mar 2017.
  3. Floridi, L. (2015). Toleration and the design of norms. Science and Engineering Ethics, 21, 1095–1123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. International Consortium for Medical Abortion. (2017). Countries abortion profile: India. Accessed on 3 Mar 2017.
  5. Olesen, A. P., Nor, S. N. M., & Amin, L. (2016). Attitudes toward pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for genetic disorders among potential users in Malaysia. Science and Engineering Ethics, 22, 133–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alankrita Taneja
    • 1
  • Sharath Burugina Nagaraja
    • 2
  • Jagadish Rao Padubidri
    • 3
  • Mohammed Madadin
    • 4
  • Ritesh G. Menezes
    • 4
  1. 1.Armed Forces Medical CollegePuneIndia
  2. 2.Department of Community MedicineEmployees State Insurance Corporation Medical College and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and ResearchBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.Department of Forensic MedicineKasturba Medical College, Manipal UniversityMangaloreIndia
  4. 4.Forensic Medicine Division, Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, King Fahd Hospital of the UniversityUniversity of DammamDammamSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations