India: A question of human rights

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Updated: August 11, 2016 04:50 IST
The Hindu

In the debate on abortion, let us not lose sight of the basic right of women: the right to autonomy and to decide what to do with their own bodies.

We are a group of persons from across the country working with women over several decades around issues of their rights and health. In response to the article, “A tricky debate on abortion” (Aug. 3, 2016), we would like to contest from the perspective of women’s rights the arguments made by the author.

Worldwide, it is estimated that 46 million women seek abortion every year and the World Health Organisation estimates that close to half of these happen in unsafe conditions. In India, around 20 million women seek to terminate an unwanted pregnancy every year. Even today, due to the stigma around women’s sexuality and abortion itself, a woman dies every two hours of an unsafe abortion. What makes this statistic even more tragic is that in our country, as the article points out, we have had a law permitting abortion access under certain conditions since 1971; however, this has not ensured widespread access to safe abortion services.

Source: The Hindu