Right to abortion
- September 30, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Right to abortion
Context: The Supreme Court in a significant judgment, said it is unconstitutional to distinguish between married and unmarried women for allowing termination of pregnancy on certain exceptional grounds when the foetus is between 20-24 weeks.
- A three-judge Bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud framed the interpretation of Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, 2003, as per which only some categories of women are allowed to seek termination of pregnancy between 20-24 weeks under certain extraordinary circumstances.
- The ruling was incidentally delivered on World Safe Abortion Day (September 28), emphasising female autonomy in accessing abortion.
- Sustainable development goals related to the right to abortion :
- SDG 3.1 pertains to reducing the maternal mortality ratio
- SDGs 3.7 and 5.6 pertain to universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (“MTP Act”) was passed due to the progress made in the field of medical science with respect to safer abortions.
- The MTP Act was amended in 2021 which expands the access to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian, and social grounds to ensure universal access to comprehensive care.
Key Provisions of the MTP Amendment Act, 2021:
Termination due to Failure of Contraceptive Method or Device:
- Under the Act, a pregnancy may be terminated up to 20 weeks by a married woman in the case of failure of contraceptive method or device. It allows unmarried women to also terminate a pregnancy for this reason.
Opinion Needed for Termination of Pregnancy:
- Opinion of one Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation.
- Opinion of two RMPs for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.
- Opinion of the State-level medical board is essential for a pregnancy to be terminated after 24 weeks in case of substantial foetal abnormalities.
Upper Gestation Limit for Special Categories:
- Increases the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women, including survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (differently abled women, minors, among others).
- The “name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed”, except to a person authorised in any law that is currently in force.