India – Fundamental right: Woman allowed to abort 23-week fetus

Rosy Sequeira
May 29, 2023

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has allowed the medical termination of a 23-week pregnancy (MTP) of a rape survivor, observing that forcing her to continue with it would violate her fundamental rights.

“…forcing the petitioner to continue with the pregnancy would be a serious affront to her fundamental right to exercise reproductive choices, to her bodily integrity and her dignity,” said vacation judges Justices Abhay Ahuja and Milind Sathaye on Friday.


Decriminalising abortion in Asia: Perspectives from India and Nepal

Decriminalising abortion encourages access to safe abortion and proper post-abortion care. It does not mean that the law would no longer regulate abortion, but that no one would be punished for providing or having an abortion, and the law provides a positive framework to ensure access to safe abortion.

MAY 28, 2023

“FIFTEEN-year-old Sita (name changed), who got pregnant due to rape, ended her pregnancy by consuming medical pills her father obtained from a local pharmacist. Sita’s district court statement noted that she sought an abortion to safeguard her and her family’s reputation. The court convicted Sita of illegal abortion and sentenced her based on her admission.” – Center for Reproductive Rights & Forum for Women, Law and Development, Decriminalization of Abortion in Nepal: Imperative to Uphold Women’s Rights, 2021

The ability to make and exercise decisions about one’s body, sexuality and reproduction is at the core of gender, economic and social justice. Under international human rights law, States are obliged to respect, protect and fulfil rights related to sexual and reproductive health, including the rights to life, health, privacy, information, freedom from ill-treatment, non-discrimination and equality. States are also required to guarantee access to quality sexual and reproductive health information and care, including abortion services.


Abortion rights: Are women aware of legal status of MTP in India

As a result, their health issues are often ignored or dismissed, leading to inadequate or delayed treatment.

March 29, 2023

By Debanjana Choudhuri

Imagine being a woman in India, trapped in an unwanted pregnancy but clueless about your legal rights. Sadly, this is a common reality as health of women is viewed with indifference in our country. Millions of women, especially in rural India, lack access to accurate information on abortion and are oblivious to the legal status of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP). This is a pressing issue that gravely affects the health and wellbeing of women.

Despite the legality of abortion, women’s reproductive rights are constantly besieged by regressive laws and societal stigmas. To make matters worse, many women are denied access to safe abortion services due to a lack of education and awareness on the subject. The patriarchal societal structure, which shames and stigmatizes women seeking abortion, is a significant obstacle to women’s rights. Let’s face it, the battle for abortion rights is not merely about reproductive healthcare, but also about ensuring gender equality and justice for women.


India – ‘I am not Neena Gupta, ma’am’: How access to abortion may not ensure acceptance

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
October 30, 2022

I run a community for urban, single women, the only one of its kind in a country where despite 74.1 million single women who constitute 39% of its female population, our highest ever population of singles – there is widespread social, financial, legal and cultural discrimination against those who do not conform to the conservatively conditioned, gender script that bestows marriage and motherhood with a glorified halo and social security that protects and preserves and promotes patriarchy.

Just two weeks ago and on the heels of the progressive Supreme Court ruling which stated that all women, including, those not married and persons, except cis-gender women, possessed equal rights to abortion – a community member from a tier-one-metro reached out to me with a problem that I do not find unusual anymore.


India abortion ruling applauded but safety fears, taboos persist

Court allows term limit of 24 weeks for all, recognizes marital rape as valid reason

KIRAN SHARMA, Nikkei staff writer
October 7, 2022

NEW DELHI -- A recent abortion ruling by India's top court is being hailed by women's advocates as a progressive step amid a global debate on reproductive rights, though some stress the country must do more to confront sensitive issues including a social stigma that perpetuates unsafe procedures.

The apex court at the end of September ruled
that all women have equal rights to abortion up to 24 weeks into pregnancy.
Although legislation was already in place, this set an important precedent for
how it should be implemented.


When People Don’t Say ‘Abortion’: How News Media Shapes Public Perception

Representation in the media can make or break the fight for safe abortions. Here’s how to do it right.

28 Sep 2022

“Where I am from, people don’t even say the word 'abortion'," says Meenakshi Saxena, who works with the Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India. She goes on to explain how instead they use 'MTP' as a verb.

MTP refers to the celebrated Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, the law that protects abortion rights in India.


In India, abortion access remains a pipedream for many

SEPTEMBER 11, 2022
Fateh Guram, Aafreen Khan

India's Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 guarantees access to safe and legal abortion services. The reality on the ground is much different.

Sunita is an
Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) from Katlupur village in the north Indian state of Haryana. As an ASHA worker, Sunita helps women in rural India access healthcare facilities and, among other services, abortion.


India’s abortion law still lacks a rights-based approach, gynecologist says

India's abortion law is progressive, but it is also problematic, says Dr. Suchitra Dalvie, a practicing gynecologist in Mumbai, India. The co-founder and coordinator of the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership unpacked the law and recent amendments to it with The World's reporter Chhavi Sachdev.

May 12, 2022
By Chhavi Sachdev

In India, abortion has been legal — within certain confines — for more than 50 years.

India's abortion law is progressive, but it is also problematic, says Dr. Suchitra Dalvie, a practicing gynecologist in Mumbai, India.


Telemedicine services for improving safe abortion accessibility in India: Need of the hour

February 12, 2022
Debanjana Choudhuri, gender and climate justice specialist.

The spread of novel coronavirus has convulsed every aspect of life all over the world. With life coming to a standstill due to repeated lockdowns, the pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of not only our society, but also of our healthcare system. India is one of the nations, which has been severely impacted due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Crucial measures, such as imposition of lockdowns, were taken to contain the spread of the virus, however, the decreased mobility also resulted in higher incidences of intimate partner violence, changes in migrant living patterns, delay in accessing other healthcare services including contraceptive and safe abortion care and potential changes to decisions about parenting.

Contrariwise, telemedicine was a silver-lining during this period, and it revolutionised access to healthcare services worldwide. India too acknowledged the credibility and viability of these services by introducing telemedicine guidelines. Today, from covid tests to other screenings telemedicine in India, is flourishing each day in every sphere. But is it the same for safe abortion services? Sadly, the answer is NO! Although India recognised the essentiality of contraception and safe abortion services, the telemedicine guidelines reflected otherwise, as it still does not include abortion under its purview.


Time To Let Go Of Stigma: How Far Has India Come In Accepting Abortion?

Ratika Rana
11 Feb 2022

Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day is celebrated on February 12 every year, and it aims to raise awareness about sexual and reproductive health issues and reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Women in India have always been at the receiving end of several social, cultural, institutional and operational challenges in all spectrums. Even after more than five decades of implementing the Maternity Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act in 1971, a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy, or abort her child, remains a debatable and taboo issue. More than 15.6 million abortions happen in India, and many of them are unsafe, thus putting a woman's life at risk.