Supreme Court: “All women are entitled to safe, legal abortion”


According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, all women have the right to safe and legal abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. According to the Supreme Court, establishing any distinctions based on a woman’s marital status is “constitutionally unsustainable.”


According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, all women have the right to safe and legal abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. According to the Supreme Court, establishing any distinctions based on a woman’s marital status is “constitutionally unsustainable.” 


The top court further stated that for the purposes of the MTP Act, marital rape must be included in the definition of the crime of rape. According to a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, JB Pardiwala, and AS Bopanna, unmarried women have the same legal rights as married women when it comes to reproductive autonomy. 


In its ruling, the bench stated that the distinction made by the abortion regulations between married and unmarried women is “artificial and constitutionally unsustainable” and supports the myth that only married women engage in sexual activity. 


The MTP Act’s provisions set a 24-week maximum for married women, as well as exceptions for rape survivors and other vulnerable women such those who are differently abled and minors. 


For widows and unmarried women who are or were in consenting relationships, the time limit for authorising abortion under the statute is 20 weeks. 


The bench reached a decision regarding how the MTP Act should be interpreted and whether single or unmarried women should be given the same rights to an abortion up to 24 weeks as married women. 


On August 23, the bench had reserved judgement over how to interpret the MTP Act’s provisions that distinguish between married and unmarried women in terms of access to abortion. 


The top court had also stated it would want to include a category of women, who suffer desertion regardless of marital status, to the seven categories of women eligible to seek abortion until 24 weeks of pregnancy. The court had noted there is a need to “fine-tune” the provisions in the MTP laws. 


The top court was informed by the Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, that any discrimination is not covered by the Act approved by Parliament and that if the court wants to step in, it should do so under the MTP Rules, 2003. 


The MTP (Amendment) Act of 2021 does not permit discrimination, according to Bhati, who was speaking on behalf of the Centre and assisting the court with its deliberations. She also claimed that the applicable provisions under the Act provide for categorization. 


She had stated that professionals have their own opinions about these matters and that categorising them was done to prevent the abuse of laws like the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act because of the fetus’s gender. 


One issue in particular, the court had stated, “We should be clear that we are going to frame our judgement in such a way that we are not going to dilute the requirements of the PC-PNDT Act.” 


The top court had widened the MTP Act’s application to unmarried women on July 21 and permitted a 25-year-old woman to abort her 24-week pregnancy that resulted from a consensual relationship. 


According to Article 21 of the Constitution, “A woman’s right to reproductive choice is an integral aspect of her personal liberty, and she has a sacred right to bodily integrity,” it had stated. 


“An unmarried woman’s personal autonomy and freedom are violated when her right to a safe abortion is denied. This Court has acknowledged live-in relationships “Added was made. 


No matter their marital status, all women in the nation are now permitted to have an abortion up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.


The 50-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022, making abortion a government concern and resulting in broad abortion restrictions across the nation. 


 On the other hand, the Supreme Court of India said on September 29 in a precedent-setting decision that a woman’s marital status could not be used as an excuse to deny her the right to an abortion. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, according to the Supreme Court, guarantees every woman the right to a safe and legal abortion.



Manjushree Samanta
Manjushree Samanta
Manjushree Samanta is a young writer with a keen interest in social issues, world news, and politics. Her writing can be described as simple and to the point. She loves to write and try new things.





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