India – Supreme Court allows abortion of minor rape survivor

By : AgencyFirst
Monday, Apr 22, 2024

New Delhi (ANI): The Supreme Court on Monday allowed medical termination of the pregnancy of a 14-year-old rape survivor while noting that continuing the pregnancy may harm the physical and mental health of the minor.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala, allowing the girl to undergo abortion who is over 29 weeks pregnant, held that the urgency of the situation and the welfare of the minor necessitated the medical termination of pregnancy.


Meet Mumbai advocates fighting against abortion law to bring women justice

29 October, 2023
Neerja Deodhar

Time is of the essence in these cases,” Anubha Rastogi, an advocate at the Bombay High Court, says at her Fort office. Outside, as the clock strikes two, the bells of the Rajabai Tower toll, underscoring the immediacy she speaks of.

Earlier this week, Rastogi and her associate Rachita Padwal represented a woman who wished to end her 26-week pregnancy. Following a medical board’s assessment about the woman’s mental and physical fitness to undergo the procedure, the HC passed an order allowing the termination. But the lawyers’ work didn’t end there; they made additional suggestions about medical boards themselves—typically comprising a gynaecologist, radiologist,  paediatrician, among other experts—and the lack of awareness around them.


Abortion laws in India: What changes did 2021 Amendment brought

13 Oct 2023
Kakoli Nath

In a country as diverse as India, the conversation around abortion or medical termination of pregnancy isn't just about laws; it's a deeply personal and medical choice. India's abortion laws have evolved significantly over the years. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of 1971 was a crucial milestone, decriminalizing abortion in specific circumstances.

The recent 2021 amendment to this 1971 Act expanded access to safe and legal abortions, reflecting a commitment to comprehensive care allowing married women to terminate pregnancies up to 20 weeks with a single RMP's approval. Whereas termination of pregnancies between 20-24 weeks of gestation requires opinion of 2 RMP's. Now, what about medical termination beyond 24 weeks, is it allowed? Because at this stage, the status of the fetus is critical.


Explained: Abortion laws in India

India has a central law called The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, which permits licensed medical professionals to perform abortions in specific predetermined situations

By Utkarsh Anand
Oct 12, 2023

The sharp divergence of opinion by two women Supreme Court judges on a married woman’s plea to abort her 26-week foetus has sparked off a serious debate on women’s reproductive rights and decisional autonomy.

The split verdict came on Wednesday, virtually putting on hold the court’s October 9 order, allowing the termination of the advanced pregnancy citing vulnerable physical and psychological health of the 27-year-old mother of two.


Reassessing India’s Abortion Laws: A Call for Change

Kanav Narayan Sahgal

Nearly two decades ago, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment in Suchita Srivastava & Anr vs Chandigarh Administration. The judgment stayed the orders of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, which had ruled that a ‘mentally retarded woman‘ who was raped while residing in a government-run welfare institution in Chandigarh should undergo a medical termination of pregnancy (MTP). The woman in question was an orphan who had been abandoned by her parents at an early age and was under the guardianship of the Missionaries of Charity, New Delhi.

Despite her willingness to bear a child, the High Court ruled in favour of the proposed abortion. However, the Supreme Court held that her pregnancy could not be terminated without her consent, as doing so would not serve her best interest. The Court emphasized that a woman’s right to make reproductive choices is an essential aspect of ‘personal liberty‘ under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. This right allows women to choose whether to procreate or refrain from procreating, with the key consideration being respect for their privacy, dignity, and bodily integrity. Any restrictions on reproductive choices should only be in line with the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971.


India – Why the Supreme Court order on abortion is not helping women

Despite the landmark judgment by the Supreme Court in September 2022 that unmarried women too can terminate their pregnancy until 24 weeks, the situation on the ground remains dismal as the MTP Act hasn’t been amended yet

January 09, 2023

When Mumbai-based Shalini* walked into the State-run J.J. Hospital in December last year seeking an abortion, she was turned away. Doctors at the hospital decided that her case was legally complicated. Her pregnancy had crossed 20 weeks, she was unmarried and the reason for her pregnancy was determined “as due to failure of contraception”. She then approached the Wadia Hospital, a charitable institution, which too turned her away.

Shalini wanted to discontinue her pregnancy as she was not ready to have the baby. When her pleas to two hospitals fell on deaf ears, Shalini had to finally move the Bombay High Court citing the Supreme Court judgment to get a favourable recourse.


India has a liberal abortion law — then why are unsafe abortions so rampant?

An adult abortion seeker doesn’t need a husband or partner’s permission to get an abortion, and can terminate a pregnancy up to 24 weeks. And yet, 67% of the abortions in the country are unsafe.

Sukanya Shaji

When Dr Suchitra Dalvie was a trainee back in 1995, she was assisting in the surgery of a woman who had internal injuries following an abortion. “She had sepsis due to sticks being inserted in her uterus for termination of pregnancy,” Dr Suchitra, a gynaecologist who is now the Coordinator at the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership tells TNM. This is neither an isolated incident nor have things changed much in the last 25 years. “While such cases may be rarer in cities now, they are very much present in rural and semi rural areas due to lack of access to safe abortion services”, she says. Some studies estimate that at least eight women die in India due to an unsafe abortion every single day — 67% of abortions in the country between 2007 and 2011 are believed to have been unsafe. “Young women aged 15–19 were at the highest risk of dying from an abortion-related complication,” according to the United Nations Population Fund’s State of World Population Report 2022.

All this in a country that has one of the most liberal on-paper abortion laws in the world.


India – Pandemic pushes wife to write book on crusading doc who fought to raise abortion limit

Mumbai News
Published on Dec 24

Mumbai: When Covid forced the world to shut down, Dr Smita Datar, the wife of a renowned gynaecologist and judicial activist used the time in hand to write about her husband’s 14-year crusade—a crusade that pushed the Union cabinet to upgrade an archaic law in 2020. The story of Dr Nikhil Datar, who got policymakers to raise the upper limit for abortions from 20 weeks to 24 weeks, is now encapsulated in a Marathi book, Fakt Tichyasaathi (Only For Her), which was released today in Mumbai.

“Years ago, the need to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and extend the permissible abortion term was discussed only in medical conferences,” said Dr Smita. “My husband had just started his practice but he was focused on bringing justice to women. He saw many ups and downs and faced criticism but never gave up. And 50 years after the passage of the historic MTP Act of 1971, the MTP Amendment Bill 2020 was passed. It was a landmark.”


Checking the blind spots in India’s abortion ruling

17 December 2022
Authors: Niharika Rustagi and Kaushambi Bagchi, NUS

Sexual and reproductive health rights are crucial to women’s bodily autonomy and empowerment. But women from many countries are not guaranteed these fundamental rights. Landmark rulings in several countries have paved the way for access to abortion services, maternal healthcare and assisted reproduction, including in countries with restrictive reproductive rights laws.

In India, legal reforms related to reproductive rights have been in progress for some time. In 2021, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971, which had previously restricted safe and legal abortions to married women, was amended to include unmarried women. On 29 September 2022, the Supreme Court of India passed a judgement that guaranteed all women, regardless of their marital status, the right to undergo abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancy up from 21 weeks.


India: Late-term abortion ruling highlights mothers’ rights

Abortions in India are usually permitted only up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. But in a recent landmark ruling, a Delhi court allowed a woman to undergo an abortion in the 33rd week due to fetal abnormalities.

Dec 12, 2022
Nidhi Suresh

The High Court of Delhi last week permitted an Indian woman, who was 33 weeks pregnant to undergoa medical termination after doctors found abnormalities in the fetus.

"The ultimate decision in such cases ought to recognize the choice of the mother," said Justice Prathiba M.Singh on December 6.