India, thus, has been dubbed "the most dangerous country for women" by many human rights activists. But why is India so prone to gender-based crimes?
By: Asif Qureshi
08 Aug 2020
In a first, Jammu and Kashmir High Court has permitted a rape victim from Doda district to terminate her pregnancy. A 17-year-old girl (name withheld), who was 26 weeks pregnant, needed the court's assent since law allows termination after 20 weeks only if the mother's life is in danger. The abortion of the girl took place at Shri Maharaja Gulab Singh hospital Jammu on July 11.
The girl alleges she was kidnapped and raped by a man, Ashok Kumar on December 12 last year. He is under arrest. The decision to allow her to abort was taken by Justice Javaid Iqbal Wani after a panel of doctors submitted her medical report.
A helping hand, a listening ear: abortion
helpline in India, where 10 women a day die from unsafe terminations, offers
counselling and access to a safe clinic
6 Aug, 2020
Yet another consequence of the coronavirus pandemic has been to restrict the
access of millions of women in lockdown to their choice of birth control. India
is seeing millions of unintended pregnancies – and risky abortions.
Zainab Mandlawala will never forget her own experience on a March afternoon in
2018. After waiting for hours, a gynaecologist finally led her into the
operating room and numbed her cervix with a local anaesthetic. She then
performed a “D&C” – dilation and curettage – abortion.
Dushyant Kishan Kaul
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.
July 28, 2020
by Priyanka Chakrabarty
In 2009 the Supreme Court of India gave a landmark judgement in Suchita Srivastava vs Chandigarh Administration case where it was held that right to reproductive autonomy is an integral part of Right to Life under Article 21 of Constitution of India. The Apex Court stressed that a medical procedure of abortion cannot be carried out on a woman if she has not consented to it. Hence, the right to reproductive autonomy was held as a Fundamental Right.
Right to Abortion: The Issue of Accessibility
Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 has governed women’s right to access abortion and their reproductive autonomy. SheThePeople reached out to two lawyers who have been litigating on MTP cases to understand the realities of the women who reach out to courts to access their right to abortion. These cases raise important questions on aspects of choice and autonomy. Ultimately, the larger question looms, how free is the womb and the woman who carries it? Please note that the names of the survivors have been changed to respect privacy and anonymity.
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.
#MyBodyMyChoice: The Unsettling State of Abortion Laws In India
By Hridika Rao
5th June, 2020
Even in the 21st century, the term ‘abortion” brings with itself an enormous amount of stigma and dishonour to many cultures of the world. It is extremely terrifying living in a world, where foeticide is still criminalized in most countries as of now. Banning abortion, raises the single most important issue, that how can anyone be truly free if they do not have control over the actions of their bodies?
This further comes in sync with the notions of the right to freedom and privacy and has led to the foundations of many human rights movements since time immemorial.
18.5 lakh in India didn’t get access to abortion facilities in lockdown
In some instances, where the pregnancy exceeded 20 weeks, the Karnataka High Court, gave relief during the lockdown.
Published: 02nd June 2020
By Chetana Belagere, Express News Service
BENGALURU: A 12-year-old girl from a poor, illiterate tribal family of rural Karnataka, who got pregnant after a sexual assault, had to go back and forth between medical facilities and the court to terminate her pregnancy during the lockdown. She is not alone. In the last three months, at least 18.5 lakh women across the country did not have access to abortion facilities. A survey conducted in 12 states by Ipas Development Foundation, which collaborates with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to improve the availability of comprehensive contraceptive care, showed,
Abortion During Pandemic: Whose Crime Is It Anyway?
This article has been collectively written by members of NGOs working on safe abortion advocacy.
May 30, 2020
On 12th May 2020, mainstream newspapers reported that an abortion pill overdose allegedly resulted in a woman’s death in Mumbai. Her husband, in-laws, family doctor, husband’s friend and the medical representative who supplied the pills have all been booked under Section 314 of the Indian Penal Code as well as Sections 4 and 5(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. While the police were prompt in responding to the complaint of foul play, the news items raise some questions about the process of investigation, reporting as well as the restrictions on pregnant persons’ access to the healthcare services they need, especially in the context of the current pandemic crisis.
To begin with, it is not clear from the report how the conclusion about “overdose” of medical abortion pills was reached. Autopsy reports usually indicate the cause of death in terms of the complication or physical condition which led to death; in this case it was excessive bleeding. The reports do not mention whether the autopsy was followed by further investigations that suggested drug overdose. Moreover, there is no mention of whether the woman’s medical history was explored to rule out any other contributing cause or complication.
Why India’s law on abortion does not use the word ‘abortion’
Some attribute the curious choice of words ‘medical termination of pregnancy’ in the 1971 Act to the colonial hangover of using technical jargon. But that's not the case.
17 May, 2020
Have you wondered why the law on abortion in India, i.e., the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP), 1971, does not use the word ‘abortion’? Was there a reason for law makers to choose the phrase ‘medical termination of pregnancy’ over the colloquially recognised term ‘abortions’?
While some attribute the curious choice of words to the colonial hangover of using technical jargon in laws, the real reason is different. The intended use of the term ‘medical termination of pregnancy’ is aimed at ensuring that abortion laws in the country aren’t framed as granting women a choice or a right to undergo safe abortions, but as procedures to protect doctors against prosecution for conducting abortions. This blog explains how.
Lockdown cuts off access to abortions and sexual health care for many women
Limiting access to contraceptives and medical termination of pregnancies (MTPs) would only result in women turning to unsafe measures.
Dr Nimeshika Jayachandran
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Two weeks after the lockdown had been announced, 26-year-old Avantika*, a resident of Mumbai found herself panicking after a home pregnancy test she took was positive.
“I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t believe it at first and took 2 more tests which also were positive, and that’s when I really started to panic. I live with my friend and her cousin, who really supported me through the whole process. My friend’s cousin called up a few hospitals near where we live to find out if we could get a scan to confirm the pregnancy, nearly all of them said no,” she says.