Recently Delhi High Court has allowed a woman to terminate her 33 week pregnancy.
- The High Court has allowed abortion on the grounds of cerebral defects in the foetus, rejecting the advice of the medical board. The court said that it is up to the woman to give birth to a child.
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 allows termination of pregnancy up to 24 weeks.
- After this period, termination of pregnancy is permitted only in the case of “serious abnormalities in the fetus”.
- Recently, in a significant judgment, the Supreme Court had said that even unmarried women have the right to safely and legally terminate their pregnancy at 20-24 weeks.
- The Medical Board constituted by the State/Union Territory decides whether the pregnancy can be terminated after 24 weeks or not. Abortion has been a matter of debate from an ethical perspective.
- Indian law recognizes the right of a woman to have an abortion even after a long period of pregnancy.
Pro-Choice Movement (Focused on Mothers)
- A woman has full right over her body.
- Birth defects can be fatal to the baby or cause lifelong suffering. This can make parents unhappy for life.
- The state cannot ignore the age (minor) and mental health of women. Moreover, no child should be born unwantedly.
Pro-life movement (centered on the life of the child)
- The right to life of the fetus must be protected.
- With advanced technology, birth defects can be corrected in the future.
- It is against humanity. Also, it is the duty of the state to protect the life of all including the foetus.
About MTP Act:
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP ACT) was passed because of the advances made in the field of medical science with regard to safe abortion.
- In a historic move to provide universal access to reproductive health services, India amended the MTP Act 1971 to further empower women by providing comprehensive abortion care.
- The new Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act 2021 has been brought in to expand safe and legal abortion services on medical, therapeutic, humanitarian or social grounds to ensure universal access to comprehensive care.
Source – The Hindu