India – The Question of Mother’s safety in Abortion: Is the Indian system progressive?

Dushyant Kishan Kaul
August 1,2020

India is largely seen a progressive regime on right to abortion. However, there have been multiple instances where courts have denied to grant abortion even in medically important cases. The author notes a case where the abortion procedure itself posed risks to the life of the mother. In this context the article analyses Indian courts and laws approach to mothers well being and reproduction rights.


The Supreme Court recently allowed the medical termination of twin pregnancies of a twenty-five-week pregnant woman. In Komal Hiwale v. State of Maharashtra, a bench, comprising of Justice R. Banumathi, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Aniruddha Bose, allowed for the abortion of a fetus which had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome.


Abortion And The Law In India

Abortion And The Law In India

Sangram Chinnappa & Abeera Dubey
10 Jun 2020

On 22nd May 2020, out of barely 30 cases enlisted on the daily board of Bombay High Court, 4 cases were for medical termination of pregnancy. One such case was of a 13-year old minor girl who was 22-weeks pregnant. The petition was filed through the girl's mother, a pavement dweller living in Thane. The girl in the case is a survivor of heinous rape alleged to have been committed by her own father. It has been reported that the father used to regularly abuse the girl, she then moved to south Mumbai to live with her aunt and stayed with her during the lockdown.

On 14th May, the girl told her aunt about the assault, after which she fell ill and was taken to the hospital. She was later diagnosed to be 22 weeks pregnant. When she went with her aunt to file the FIR at Crawford Police Station they wrongly refused to lodge her complaint and directed her to go to Thane Police Station. This was not an easy task as the entire country was in lockdown due to COVID-19. After they finally managed to lodged the FIR at the Thane Police Station under various sections of IPC and POCSO she was taken to taken to a JJ Hospital for an abortion. As she was already beyond the 20 week limit stipulated in the law, her family was informed that their only recourse was to get a judicial order from the High Court. The family which has a tough time making ends meet and without any source of income due to the Pandemic were made to run from pillar to post to find a lawyer who could help them out pro bono as they could never afford the fees for filing a Writ Petition in the High Court.


India – Safe abortion: every woman’s right and her decision alone

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.


India – Women don’t have absolute right to abort: Government to SC

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.”


What It’s Like to Get an Abortion as an Unmarried Woman in India

What It's Like to Get an Abortion as an Unmarried Woman in India
In a country where stigma and shame drive many women towards unsafe abortions, this is an account of one woman who, unlike many, survived to tell the tale.

by Pallavi Pundir
23 July 2019

For far too long—and perhaps even now—conversations around abortions in India have been the stuff made up of whispers, stigma, and shame. While having pre-marital sex is, in itself, a big taboo, that of having a child born out of wedlock is even more so. Abortion in this scenario—in a space that is safe, non-judgemental and legit—is mostly unthinkable. This is a country where unsafe abortions are the third-leading cause of maternal deaths, and 80 percent of Indian women have no clue that abortion within 20 weeks is actually legal. And while studies have shown that unsafe abortions stem from lack of awareness, the societal norms around reproduction almost always dictate how and when women should be giving birth.


India: Abortion: It’s every woman’s right to choose

Abortion: It’s every woman’s right to choose
According to the latest estimates published in the December issue of The Lancet, in 2015, a staggering 15.6 million abortions occurred in India. Of these 15.6 million abortions, 73% were sought outside health facilities. While unsafe abortions in the country have reduced significantly, about eight lakh women still resort to unsafe means to end an unwanted pregnancy.

Jan 06, 2018
Soli Sorabjee

Last year, in what is considered a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that individual privacy is a “guaranteed fundamental right”. The nine-judge bench ruled that the right to privacy is comprised in the right to life and liberty guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution. This judgment will have significant implications for the protection of citizens’ personal freedom against intrusions by the State. While the furore about privacy and its breach began with the linking of Aadhaar numbers with various programmes, the judgment addressed several other issues that the bench believed came under the ambit of privacy. Recognising a woman’s prerogative to make decisions about her health and body, the bench ruled that “there is no doubt that a woman’s right to make reproductive choices is also a dimension of ‘personal liberty’ as guaranteed under Article 21.

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India: In a first, HC OKs abortion of 25-week fetus

In a first, HC OKs abortion of 25-week fetus
Swati Deshpande | TNN | Nov 7, 2017

MUMBAI: Less than a month after the Supreme Court said women could directly approach the high courts for termination beyond 20 weeks of pregnancies with foetal abnormalities, the Bombay high court on Monday for the first time granted permission to a 28-year-old who is over 25 weeks pregnant.

Mumbai's Priti Rawal moved court last Friday when she was over 22 weeks pregnant, saying her fetus had multiple neurological and skeletal abnormalities, which reduced its survival chances at birth.

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India: Supreme Court upholds woman’s right to abort

Supreme Court upholds woman's right to abort
Dhananjay Mahapatra | TNN
Updated: Oct 28, 2017

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has dismissed a man's petition seeking damages from his estranged wife for undergoing abortion without his consent, and ruled that an adult woman had an unimpeachable right to give birth or terminate pregnancy.

Terming the abortion, to which he had objected, "illegal", the husband had also demanded compensation from the woman's parents and brother, and two doctors. The Punjab and Haryana high court had dismissed the husband's plea saying termination of pregnancy was the sole prerogative of the woman .

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India: Woman undergoes abortion in 30th week of pregnancy at JJ hospital

Woman undergoes abortion in 30th week of pregnancy at JJ hospital

Woman’s foetus had been diagnosed with multiple congenital defects. The newborn, weighing 900 gms, survived for a few minutes after birth before succumbing to multiple complications.

Published: September 12, 2017

WITH the judiciary emerging as the only avenue for pregnant women over 20 weeks in gestation whose foetuses are diagnosed with an anomaly, the city is seeing a rise in the number of petitions seeking medical termination of pregnancy filed in the apex court. In the latest case, a Dubai-based pregnant woman, detected with several anomalies in her foetus, underwent an emergency pregnancy termination at JJ Hospital on Monday following Supreme Court orders.

Continued at source: Indian Woman undergoes abortion in 30th week of pregnancy at JJ hospital

India: Rape Survivors’ Right to Abortion: Are Doctors Listening?

Rape Survivors’ Right to Abortion: Are Doctors Listening?
By Padma D. and Sangeeta R.
Sep 8, 2017

Recent amendments to the rape laws have made it mandatory for all hospitals to provide immediate treatment to survivors of rape. An abortion is an essential element of such care.

What is the ethical and legal responsibility of doctors when it comes to abortion for pregnant rape survivors? Credit: Reuters

The news of rape survivors, especially children, being denied abortion has been in the public eye for some time. First it was a ten-year-old rape survivor, 28 weeks pregnant, and the second was a 13-year-old child, 26 weeks pregnant, both reaching medical institutions/doctors but being turned away by the medical system owing to the advanced stages of pregnancy. Both appealed to the Supreme Court to seek permission for abortion. The court did not allow an abortion for the ten-year-old child, compelling her to proceed with the pregnancy, while the 13-year-old child has been allowed to terminate the pregnancy.
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