Why Indian Laws Need More Reforms To Provide Safe Abortions

While socio-economic and medical structural barriers continue to pose challenges, criminalisation of abortion through a restrictive legal framework creates a chilling effect on the willingness of medical practitioners to perform even routine and legal abortions, eliminating access to safe abortions.

Dipika Jain
13 SEP 2022

On August 5, 2022, a Supreme Cou­rt bench consisting of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and J.B. Pardiwala permitted a 25-year-old unmarried woman to medically terminate her 24-week-old pregnancy resulting from a consensual relationship. Justice Chandrachud noted the legal framework that restricts unmarried women (vis-à-vis mar­ried women) from medically terminating their pregnancies, and stated that both married and unmarried women suffer the same mental anguish with respect to a pregnancy that is older than the gestational period of 20 weeks. In granting her permission to abort, the court recognised the need to “move ahead” from restrictive legal provisions that preclude unmarried women from obtaining abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.

Continued: https://www.outlookindia.com/national/why-indian-laws-need-more-reforms-to-provide-safe-abortions-magazine-221658

Unmarried Indian Women Deserve Access To Safe Abortions

August 29, 2022

One of the many ways society polices women’s bodies and sexuality is by creating different hierarchies of medical care that a woman could receive based on whether society approves of her lifestyle or not. For instance, did you know that the upper time limit to seek abortion care is different for married and single women in our country? While this could change legally, soon, it does make us wonder, when will women’s rights stop being subjective to society’s understanding of morality?

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act has to date discriminated between married and unmarried women by limiting the latter’s access to abortion care to a certain limit. The prejudices were in Rule 3B(c) of the MTP Rules, 2003, which allows termination up to 24 weeks for women, who undergo a change of marital status during the pregnancy, but for unmarried women, it is 20 weeks.  

Continued: https://www.shethepeople.tv/top-stories/opinion/abortion-care-for-unmarried-women/

The safety concern in abortion debate

Mohammad Javed Pasha
July 31, 2022

Abortion is a public health concern besides being a sensitive issue with religious, moral, cultural and political dimensions. More than a quarter of the world’s people live in countries where the procedure is permitted only in cases of rape, incest, fetal abnormalities or to save the pregnant person’s life. Abortions still occur in these countries, nearly half of them are unsafe, performed by unskilled practitioners or in unhygienic conditions, or both.

Abortions performed in unsafe conditions claim the lives of tens of thousands of women around the world every year and leave many times that with chronic and often irreversible physical and mental health problems becoming a drain on the resources of public health systems. Controversy, however, often overshadows the public health impact. An estimated 73 million abortions occur globally each year. Unsafe abortions accounts for up to 13 percent of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth worldwide. Globally, at least 7 million women are treated every year for complications from unsafe abortions.

Continued: https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/978303-the-safety-concern-in-abortion-debate

On reproductive rights, India’s MTP and Surrogacy Acts don’t go far enough

A person’s right to choose to end the pregnancy in the first few weeks is still not recognised in India. After overturning of Roe v Wade, measuring ourselves on a yardstick of regression shouldn’t become our way of governance

Angellica Aribam
July 1, 2022

Is India really ahead of the West in terms of reproductive rights? Contrary to
the grandstanding since the overturning of the landmark Roe V. Wade judgment,
the truth is, no. Bodily autonomy and reproductive rights must be viewed from
three lenses — legal, medical, and social. Only when women and non-binary
pregnant people enjoy absolute autonomy over their own bodies by these
parameters, can one claim that India is showing the way to the West.

First, the legal standpoint: The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment)
Act 2021 is far from ideal and has been criticised for not taking a
rights-based approach. It doesn’t give the pregnant person complete autonomy in
ending the pregnancy, instead making them go through various systemic barriers.

Continued: https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/abortion-laws-united-states-her-body-her-choice-8001845/

US court strikes down right to abortion; what’s the scene in India?

Indian law permits abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy and up to 24 weeks in special cases. However, unsafe abortions are the third leading cause of maternal mortality in India, and close to eight women die from causes related to unsafe abortions every day, according to a UN agency report

JUNE 28, 2022

On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 judgment in the Roe Vs Wade case that had made abortion a constitutional right in the country.

The decision, which led to a furore, is slated to have a major impact on the lives of American women, with possibly a near-total ban on abortion in roughly half of the country’s 50 states.

Continued: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/trends/health-trends/analysis-i-us-court-strikes-down-right-to-abortion-whats-the-scene-in-india-8748251.html

India – Why abortion should be a part of Universal Health Coverage

Debanjana Choudhuri, Vithika Yadav
May 25, 2022
By Hindustan Times

Access to abortion is an unconditional human right and should be entitled as a basic health care service delivered as a part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC is a commitment to equity and focuses on ensuring a level of quality care that helps people achieve their desired health outcomes.

While on the surface it looks easy,
pro-choice, abortion, and autonomy over women’s body face barriers in the
generational prejudice against women, existing taboos, and pedagogical approach
towards a division of labour. These various components of disparities have led
to the gross neglect of women’s health, and the most overlooked is the Sexual
and Reproductive Health Right (SRHR), which is essential to the fulfillment of
universal health coverage and is included in the Sustainable Development Goals,
which commit countries to providing universal access to sexual and reproductive
health services by 2030.

Continued: https://www.hindustantimes.com/ht-insight/gender-equality/why-abortion-should-be-a-part-of-universal-health-coverage-101653469989475.html

India – Illegal abortion centre unearthed in Jalna, seven booked

Seven people were booked after an illegal abortion centre was unearthed in Jalna district of Maharashtra, officials said on Saturday.

30 APR 2022

In the raid that was carried out by a team led by the civil surgeon and police on Friday night in Dhawaleshwar area here, a female fetus, medicines, abortion kits, a register were seized, they said.

 "A woman who was present at the centre to undergo medical termination of a female fetus has been shifted to a nearby hospital. The main accused is a BAMS doctor who ran away with a sonography machine while the raid was underway," an official said.

Continued: https://www.outlookindia.com/national/maha-illegal-abortion-centre-unearthed-in-jalna-seven-booked-news-194193

India: Why are women seeking unsafe abortions?

Although abortion is legal, over two-thirds of abortions in India are considered to be risky. Barriers to safe abortion include a shortage of doctors in rural areas, a lack of confidentiality and widespread stigma.

April 13, 2022

Chitra (name changed) had to travel more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) from her home to the city of Gurgaon to get an abortion so that her family members would not find out.

"The contraceptive failed, and I did not wish to have a child," she said. "I was repeatedly questioned and treated rudely by the doctors as well as nurses and other staff at the clinic," the 20-year-old student told DW.

Continued: https://www.dw.com/en/india-why-are-women-seeking-unsafe-abortions/a-61464727

India – State of World Population Report: A case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy

by Oneindia Correspondent
Thursday, March 31, 2022

The State of World Population (SoWP) is an annual report published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the sexual and reproductive health agency of the United Nations.

Each edition covers and analyses developments and trends in world population and demographics, as well as shedding light on specific regions, countries and population groups and the unique challenges they face. Each year, SoWP focuses on a particular theme and presents an in-depth analysis on the subject matter covered. The SoWP 2022 brings the spotlight to a critical theme: Expecting more: The preventable crisis of unintended pregnancy.

Continued: https://www.oneindia.com/india/state-of-world-population-report-a-case-for-action-in-the-neglected-crisis-of-unintended-pregnancy-3390013.html?story=2

‘I Paid The Price With My Womb’: Tales Of Unsafe Abortions in India
Developing countries’ contribution is 97% of all unsafe abortions. More than half of them occur in Asia.

Published: 21 Mar 2022

Rajlaxmi* (name changed) was sitting on the pavement of her rented shanty in Neharpar, Faridabad. She looked different from the last time I saw her.

Something was amiss.

Her eyes were hollow, her pearly white smile
seemed to have fallen into an abyss, her child-like persona absent.

Continued: https://www.thequint.com/fit/unsafe-abortion-most-common-cause-of-maternal-deaths-in-india