Safeguard women’s right to safe abortion in India

ABORTION
Abortion

Abortion laws have been a topic of debate in India as well since House of Commons MPs have voted by 328 to 65 to make abortion legal in the North if the Northern Ireland assembly and executive are not back in place by October.Abortion is now set to be decriminalised in the North from October 22nd. Regulations will be in place from March 31st, 2020.

The Supreme Court has sent a notice to the Centre about a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to reconsider the right to abortion.
V.S Chandrashekar said, “The MTP Act has not kept time with changing discourse on sexual and reproductive rights and advancement in medical technology. There is an urgent need to amend the Act. The GOI had notified the draft amendments in 2014, which among other things sought to make abortion in first trimester a right; increase gestational limits above 20 weeks for fetal abnormalities and survivors of sexual abuse; expand the provider base and expand the indication for contraceptive failure to all women and not just married women. Unfortunately, the 2014 amendments have not seen the light of the day. It is high time that the amendments be put to motion.”

V.S Chandrashekar is the Chief Executive Officer, FRHS India and CAG member, Pratigya Campaign for Gender Equality and Safe Abortion on the recent development.

According to the existing law, abortion is legal only if it is performed until 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, the permission of a court is required for aborting a foetus that is more than 20 weeks old. The plea sent by the apex court challenges the law that makes abortion legal only to save a life.

The court said, “Issue a writ of certiorari or any other appropriate writ to declare Section 3(2) (a)of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 to the extent it requires formation of opinion by medical practitioner that continuance of pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health or there is substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental health abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped for termination of pregnancy where length of pregnancy does not exceed 12 weeks as unconstitutional and void as it violates Article 14 & 21 of the Constitution.”

The plea further read, “Issue a writ of certiorari or any other appropriate writ to declare Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 to the extent it restricts the termination of pregnancy on the ground of risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health or there is substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental health abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped for termination of pregnancy only to those cases where length of pregnancy does not exceed 20 weeks as unconstitutional and void as it violates Article 14 & 21 of the Constitution.”

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