India: High Court extends abortion right to live-in relationships

Swati Deshpande | TNN | Sep 22, 2016, 01.49 AM IST, Times of India

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has extended to live-in relationships a pro-choice right which only married women have enjoyed so far in law.

The HC held that a provision under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which currently doesn't apply to live-in relationships, should be understood to be applicable also to couples who live in the nature of a marriage. A 45-year-old law that governs and grants women the right to abort spelled out how a married woman, who may have conceived by accident despite using birth control devices, could be permitted to terminate such pregnancy till 20 weeks, if unwanted, on the ground that its continuation would cause her mental trauma.

Since the law specified "married woman", the HC while dealing with the rights of women in prison to medical termination, said law in today's scenario of live-in relations would extend to even such women, who though not married, live in with their partner. The judgment, salutary to women who have not tied the knot but live with a man in a relationship akin to marriage, recognised the extent to which such relationships resonate and are rising in society and the need for protective laws.

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Source: Times of India