How India's Most Important Law for Children's Safety is Leading to Unsafe Abortions Among Teenagers
The conflict of the POCSO and the MTP Act is making doctors hesitant to provide services to girls under-18 due to fear of prosecution, and teenaged girls apprehensive of seeking abortion services from legal providers, in turn, forcing them to seek unsafe abortion measures.
October 23, 2019
Delhi: A few days after discovering she is pregnant, Rekha*, along with her mother, went to Dr Samir R Pradhan, a gynaecologist in Mumbai. She wanted an abortion. The doctor tried to determine her age through her Aadhaar card but it mentioned only her year of birth.
Her school documents revealed that she's a couple of months short of 18 - anything less than that age means there can be no consent involved in sex. Or, that's what the law says. "An act of sex with a woman below 18 years is considered to be rape and we are bound by the law to inform the authorities," Dr Pradhan says.
Criminalisation of even consensual sex between adolescents obstructs access to safe abortion for girls
October 19, 2019
Unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal mortality in India, leading to about 10 deaths every day. ‘The incidence of abortion and unintended pregnancy in India, 2015’ study records that of the 15.6 million abortions in 2015, only 22% were conducted in health facilities, whereas an overwhelming 78% abortions were done outside health facilities. Adolescent girls, in the age group of 16-18 years, are left at the mercy of life-threatening pregnancy termination methods. A 2010 facility-based study discloses that 20-30% of abortion seekers were unmarried young women and adolescent girls; and 16.7% of them were victims of sexual abuse.
Significantly, this life endangering vulnerability is abetted by the law. Section 19(1) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act stipulates mandatory reporting of all sexual offences against a child to the law enforcement authorities, and failure to report the same entails punitive consequences.
India: 15-year-old dies allegedly due to botched abortion
The police have arrested one person; a probe is under way
Published: October 14, 2019
New Delhi: Delhi Police have arrested one person after a 15-year-old girl died on Friday night allegedly due to a botched try at abortion.
According to the police, the girl was brought to Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital on Friday late evening in a serious condition; she died a bit later.
Indian Women Seeking Abortions Are Petitioning the Courts, Even When They Don’t Need To
By Anubha Rastogi
Oct 4, 2019
In the past three years, there has been an increasing and worrying trend of pregnant women approaching courts of law, either directly or indirectly, seeking permission for terminating the pregnancy that they are carrying.
Initially, these were all cases that were above the 20-week limit that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act sets out. However, a recent study by the Pratigya Campaign shows that even cases of gestational age at 8 weeks and 12 weeks have gone to court seeking permission.
Safe abortion: every woman’s right and her decision alone
Updated: Sep 28, 2019
Sanchita Sharma, Hindustantimes
There’s been a spurt in women approaching the Supreme and High Courts seeking permission to end their pregnancies, but the judgments have been conflicting, according to a new analysis of court judgments by the not-for-profit Pratigya Campaign for Gender Equality and Safe Abortion.
Over the last three years, 194 women have gone to courts seeking abortions in traumatic circumstances including rape, risk to life and mental health, or foetal abnormalities, but the judgments have been unpredictable, found the report, released on Saturday.
Women’s empowerment is incomplete without access to safe abortion, but this just got worse
September 28, 2019
Women’s reproductive rights in general, and abortion in particular, have been the subject of intense debate globally. Even in countries where the law permits abortions women battle stigma, bias, lack of awareness and information, all of which result in restriction of access to safe abortion.
Almost 48 years after abortion was legalised in India, a majority of women continue to lack access to safe abortion care. Unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal mortality in India. Every day 10 women die in India due to unsafe abortion-related causes and many more suffer from morbidities such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility, which are related to unsafe abortion practices – ranging from home remedies to inserting sharp foreign objects into the cervix.
Abortion a right not privilege. On Safe Abortion Day, govt must consider amending MTP Act
In 1971, India became one of the first countries to legalise abortion, but today its healthcare system is lagging behind and doing a great disservice to women.
Updated: 28 September, 2019
Forty-eight years ago, in 1971, when conversations about women’s reproductive health and rights were still in nascent stages across the world, India became one of the first countries to ensure that women have access to a crucial reproductive health need — that of having a safe, legal abortion.
Today, however, India’s laws and systems have lagged behind and we are doing a great disservice to the women in our country by limiting their control over their wombs because of challenges discussed here.
Abortion post 20 weeks not only woman's call: Centre to Supreme Court
Centre tells SC law must safeguard against female foeticide
Written By Abraham Thomas
Updated: Sep 22, 2019
Amid the raging debate over whether the State should control the choice of a pregnant woman to abort a foetus beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy, the Centre has said that the decision cannot "absolutely" rest with the woman alone.
The Centre told the Supreme Court on Saturday, via an affidavit, that instances of unsafe abortion and female infanticide are a matter of concern and any decision to increase the 20-week period has to be taken while balancing the interest of the health of both woman and foetus.
Punjab and Haryana HC gives nod to termination of 28-week pregnancy
Permission for the termination of a 28-week pregnancy was given to a woman by the Punjab and Haryana Court after doctors confirmed that the foetus had a serious medical condition.
Updated Sep 22, 2019
Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court granted permission to a woman to terminate her 28-week pregnancy. The decision was taken after doctors of Patiala's Rajindra Hospital confirmed that the foetus was suffering from a serious medical condition.
The order was passed on Friday by Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa. The court also directed the Medical Superintendent of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Patiala to supervise the termination of the woman's pregnancy.
Women don’t have absolute right to abort: Government to SC
The affidavit says an amendment in the law is in works and that it has sought “changes in section 5 MTP Act on grounds of substantial foetal abnormalities.
Sep 19, 2019
HT Correspondent, New Delhi
A pregnant woman does not have an absolute right to abort her pregnancy and the right to abortion has to be balanced against compelling state interest to protect the mother’s health and life of the unborn child, asserts the ministry of health and family welfare in an affidavit filed by it in the Supreme Court.
The affidavit, filed in response to a petition by Dr Nikhil Datar which seeks to raise the cap for terminating pregnancy from the current 20 weeks to 26 weeks and the quashing of section 5 of the Act, says an amendment in the law is in works and that it has sought “changes in section 5 MTP Act on grounds of substantial foetal abnormalities. The draft has been sent to the Ministry of Law and Justice for vetting.”