All women are entitled to safe & legal abortion : Supreme Court

All women are entitled to safe & legal abortion : Supreme Court

Recently the Supreme Court has ruled that all women are entitled to safe and legal abortion.

In a significant decision, the Supreme Court has held that even unmarried women have the right to an abortion between 20-24 weeks of pregnancy, if the reason for the conception is a consensual relationship.

The issue was whether an unmarried woman (who became pregnant after a consensual relationship) was legally excluded from Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.

Rule 3B specifies the categories of women whose pregnancy at 20-24 weeks may be allowed to be terminated.

Key Findings –

Preventing unmarried women from 20 to 24 weeks pregnant from access to safe and legal abortion care facilities is a violation of their rights to:

  • the right to regeneration autonomy, dignity and privacy (Article 21), and
  • Right to equality before law and equal protection of laws (Article 14)

The benefit of the MTP Act has been given to such minors who enter into a consensual relationship. Also, doctors are not required to reveal the identities of these minors to the local police.

The Court has also held that the terms “sexual harassment” or “rape” under the rules of the MTP Act include sexual harassment or rape committed by a husband on his wife.

In 1971, the MTP Act was passed by the Parliament as a health, humane and eugenic measure.

Its purpose is to make abortion illegal under certain circumstances and under the proper supervision of registered medical practitioners.

Source – PIB

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