To Include Unmarried Women Under Abortion Law, Supreme Court’s New Move

Supreme Court will interpret the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act to incorporate single ladies

New Delhi:

Having dominated that denying an single girl the fitting to secure abortion violates her private autonomy, the Supreme Court will now interpret the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and the associated guidelines to see if single ladies could possibly be allowed to abort a 24-week being pregnant on medical recommendation.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and JB Pardiwala on Friday requested Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, showing for the Centre, to help the courtroom within the train.

“When there are exceptions provided under the law, then why unmarried women can’t be included to terminate 24-weeks pregnancy, if the medical advice so permits. The parliamentary intent appears to be clear as it has replaced “husband” with “associate”. It shows that they have considered unmarried women also in the bracket of those allowed to terminate 24-weeks pregnancy,” Justice Chandrachud mentioned.

The bench mentioned it must craft its verdict in a method that single ladies are additionally allowed to terminate their 24-week being pregnant like divorcees, widows or these in judicial separation.

Mr Bhati contended there’s a purpose for not permitting single ladies to terminate being pregnant after 24 weeks because it might take a toll on their well being.

“The experts have their views over this. We need to place those views before the court. The termination of pregnancy at 24 weeks carries immense risk and could even cost the life of the women,” she mentioned.

The bench allowed Mr Bhati to position the views of specialists earlier than it and mentioned it wants her help on the problem.

At the outset, the bench was knowledgeable a 25-year-old girl, who was allowed to terminate her 24-week being pregnant on July 21, is secure after a profitable process.

On July 21, the highest courtroom had expanded the scope of the MTP Act to incorporate single ladies and allowed the 25-year-old to abort her 24-week being pregnant arising out of a consensual relationship.

The prime courtroom had mentioned, “A woman’s right to reproductive choice is an inseparable part of her personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution and she has a sacrosanct right to bodily integrity.”

“Denying an unmarried woman the right to a safe abortion violates her personal autonomy and freedom. Live-in relationships have been recognized by this Court,” it had underlined.

The courtroom had requested the Director of the AIIMS, Delhi to represent a medical board when it comes to the provisions of the MTP Act and mentioned within the occasion it concludes that the foetus will be aborted with out hazard to the lifetime of the lady, a group of medical doctors on the facility shall perform the abortion.

The courtroom mentioned it was of the view that permitting the petitioner to endure an undesirable being pregnant will likely be opposite to the intent of the legislation enacted by Parliament.

Allowing the petitioner to terminate her being pregnant, on a correct interpretation of the statute, prima facie, falls throughout the ambit of the statute and the petitioner shouldn’t be denied the profit on the bottom that she is an single girl, it had mentioned.

It had added the excellence between a married and single girl doesn’t bear a nexus to the fundamental function and object that’s sought to be achieved by Parliament which is conveyed particularly by the provisions of Explanation 1 to Section 3 of the Act.

“The petitioner had moved the High Court before she had completed 24 weeks of pregnancy. The delay in the judicial process cannot work to her prejudice,” it had mentioned.

The prime courtroom had mentioned Parliament, by amending the MTP Act by means of the Act of 2021 meant to incorporate single ladies and single ladies throughout the ambit of the legislation which is obvious from the alternative of the phrase ‘husband’ with ‘associate’.

It, nevertheless, identified there’s a hole within the legislation as whereas Section 3 travels past typical relationships primarily based on marriage, Rule 3B of the MTP Rules doesn’t envisage a state of affairs involving single ladies, however recognises different classes of ladies reminiscent of divorcees, widows, minors, disabled and mentally unwell ladies and survivors of sexual assault or rape.

“There is no basis to deny unmarried women the right to medically terminate the pregnancy, when the same choice is available to other categories of women,” it had dominated.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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