India: A tricky debate on abortion

160803 - Oped - Abortion debateUpdated: August 3, 2016 01:48 IST
by K. Kannan

It might be more prudent to look at counselling instead of rushing through a law liberalising abortion.

Recently, in a case before the Supreme Court, a woman successfully obtained direction for medical termination of pregnancy (abortion) after 24 weeks on a plea that she was raped by her boyfriend on the false promise of marriage. In another case, the Delhi High Court intervened directing medical examination for fitness for abortion responding to the poignant tale of a 16-year-old kidnapped by unknown persons, sexually abused by them for two years, and finally found abandoned near the Delhi University campus. The orders in both cases were beyond the permissible period in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP Act). There is an outcry for change in law for easy availability of the option to abort without court intervention. Does it discard patient autonomy and impose unnecessary restrictions? Can a woman have the right to seek abortion at any time she pleases? Should the state have a say in an intimate matter of what a woman wants to do with the foetus?

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Source: The Hindu

Graphic: 160803 - Oped - Abortion debate, Keshav