Abortion: India Supreme Court says amended law to cover single women too




  • In Business
  • 2022-09-29 11:09:44Z
  • By BBC
A woman holding her pregnant belly
A woman holding her pregnant belly  

India's Supreme Court has said that all women, including those not married, could get an abortion up to 24 weeks.

The court ruling came on a plea seeking clarity on the amended 2021 abortion law which listed several groups that did not include single women.

The court said all women, regardless of their marital status, were entitled to safe and legal abortion.

It said that excluding single women in consensual relationships would be "unconstitutional".

Abortions have been legal in India since 1971, but over the years authorities have made strict rules for who can terminate a pregnancy because of the abortions of millions of female foetuses, leading to a terribly skewed gender ratio in the country. Traditionally, Indians have shown a preference for male children over daughters.

Last year, the government amended the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP) to allow several categories of women to seek abortions between 20 and 24 weeks.

The list included rape survivors, minors, women with mental disabilities, women with foetuses that had major abnormalities and married women whose marital status had changed during the pregnancy.

The judgement on Thursday clarified that the amendment did not distinguish between married and unmarried women and that it must also include unmarried women in consensual relationships.

  • Does India really have more women than men?

  • India's preference for sons over daughters remains

The bench, comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna and JB Pardiwal said a woman's marital status could not be grounds to deprive her of the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy.

The judges also said that under this law, the meaning of rape would include sexual assault by husbands.

India is yet to criminalise marital rape. Under current laws, sex "by a man with his own wife" who's not a minor is not rape.

In May, the Delhi high court had delivered a split verdict in a case seeking to outlaw the British-era law, with the two judges expressing opposing views on the matter.

The case is now being heard in the Supreme Court.

Read more India stories from the BBC:

  • India official mocks student's sanitary pad request

  • Moonlighting debate divides Indian firms and workers

  • Why is India raiding this Islamic group?

  • India village ends 75-year wait for government job

  • The Indian state getting a bad rap over stray dogs

  • Unanswered questions in India sisters' hanging

  • Apple makes iPhone 14 in India in shift from China

COMMENTS

More Related News

SC judge poised to dismiss former LR5 school board member
SC judge poised to dismiss former LR5 school board member's lawsuit over Facebook group

Why a judge said Friday that a lawsuit brought by Ken Loveless that shut down a critical Facebook group would not succeed.

Rail strike averted with Senate vote, Biden renews ties with France: 5 Things podcast
Rail strike averted with Senate vote, Biden renews ties with France: 5 Things podcast

A rail strike was averted with the Senate's 80 to 15 vote Thursday to impose a labor deal, Biden hosts Macron at a state dinner: 5 Things podcast

Web designer opposed to gay marriage at center of U.S. Supreme Court clash
Web designer opposed to gay marriage at center of U.S. Supreme Court clash
  • US
  • 2022-12-02 11:07:24Z

The wedding websites that Colorado-based web designer Lorie Smith would like to create for clients might offer ceremony details, pictures, a story about the ...

For Miami lawyer, imprisoned and disbarred decades ago, award caps life of redemption
For Miami lawyer, imprisoned and disbarred decades ago, award caps life of redemption
  • US
  • 2022-12-02 10:30:00Z

On a recent morning in Miami federal court, a man prepared to plead guilty to gun and drug charges. The proceedings were unremarkable, the type of hearing...

Gautam Adani: The school dropout
Gautam Adani: The school dropout's high-risk journey to become Asia's richest man

Gautam Adani, a controversial self-made billionaire, is driving India's infrastructure boom.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business