Abortion Law In India
aces 51-years-old curb, single women get equal abortion rights.
Abortion law in India – History, and Background.
Till 1960 – Abortion was illegal.
Goi set up – the Shantilal Shah Committee which led to the formulation of the Medical Termination Practice Act of 1971.
A provision in the MTP Act– Abortion up to 12 weeks, with permission of single + permission of two de. beyond 12 and up to 20 weeks.
Recent Amendment (1021) – Up to 20 weeks with permission from a single dr + after 20 weeks – Certain categories of women allowed abortion.
Recent Controversy – DL H.C rejected the petition of unmarried women for abortion after 20 weeks. later S.C allowed it. Issues in Abortion law in India.
MTP Act 1971 – Prohibits unmarried woman who is between 20 – 24 weeks of pregnancy to abort. The law stripped single women of their autonomy over their bodies by forcing them to carry an unwanted pregnancy to its full terms.
Recent S.C judgment – 2022.
3 bench handed by Justice Chandrachud – Allowed nonmarried woman with a pregnancy between – 20 – 24 weeks to abort.
Reasons given – Right of reproductive autonomy, dignity, and privacy give an unmarried woman the right of choice. The existing practice amounted to discrimination. The artificial distinction between married and unmarried is not constitutionally sustainable.
S.C opinion – Statements ” The law should not decide the beneficiaries of a statute based on narrow patriarchal principles about what constitutes permissible sex “. ” Single women have the same autonomy over their body as married women “.
Terms to remember –
” Reproductive Autonomy ” – Women have right over the body. Right or Work? The nature and marriage practices have changed and new forms such as live-in relationships have evolved. Since the nature of society has changed the law needs to reflect the changing times. Further, the distinction is not justiciable as one hand the MMR in India is high and on there hand health of the country is in ICU. The high suicide rate in India among women. The ruling is pragmatic as it ” Keeps the clinic open and case closed “.