A decisive shift in the discourse on abortion rights
In a landmark Judgment, the Supreme Court recently put decision on abortion rights for all adult women in India to have the right to seek a safe abortion through a medical expert till up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Core areas addressed in the Judgements:
There are five key aspects of this judgment that need to be shared:
- Acknowledging the context of criminality: IPC criminalises accessing and providing an abortion except where there is an immediate necessity to save the life of the pregnant woman, and that the MTP Act is an exception to this criminal offence.
- Removal of ‘compulsory’ marital status: The judgment basically holds that what is accessible and available for a married pregnant woman should be accessible and available to any pregnant woman, and that a classification based on marital status is fallacious and illegal.
- Inclusive of the concept of Marital Rape: An acknowledgement has put that a pregnancy can be sought to be terminated on the ground of it being as a result of rape by the
- Confidentiality: This judgment clarifies that while the need to report mandatorily remains, the identity of the pregnant person need not be disclosed in the cases of consensual sexual activity and where the minor and/or her guardian request the medical service provider to maintain confidentiality.
- Relief to Medical Practitioners: It recognises the extra-legal requirements that medical practitioners insist upon before providing MTP services, only to safeguard themselves due to the context of criminality and the present law is non-inclusive and the terminology used is exclusionary.