|Demand of the question Introduction. Contextual introduction. Body. Discuss arguments in favour and against legalising abortion in India. Conclusion. Way forward.|
Abortion in India is legal in certain circumstances under Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. It can be performed on various grounds until 24 weeks of pregnancy. It provides women the right to choose and help in saving women’s lives. Whether it should be legalised unconditionally in India needs to be analysed deeply.
Argument in favour of legalisation of abortion in India:
- Bodily sovereignty: The first argument is of bodily sovereignty. Each woman has the sole right to make decisions about what happens to her body. No one should force her either to carry or terminate a pregnancy against her will. Most abortions are carried out on the grounds of safeguarding the woman’s mental health.
- Safeguarding life: Abortions should be done to safeguard the life of a foetus, as it would involve risk if pregnancy is carried, it might damage the foetus resulting in danger to the life of the mother.
- Prevent abandoning of child: A woman who does not want to carry her pregnancy, may abandon the new born child as was seen in the past. This endangers the life of the baby and may lead to his abuse. Thus, it is better to terminate the pregnancy at an earlier stage.
- Right to choose: Abortion represents a woman’s right to choose and reproductive rights whether to continue her pregnancy or terminate it.
- Mother’s life: Legal procedures have often hindered in permitting abortion, resulting in the death of a mother or the foetus. Despite the latest techno-medical advances, the laws have remained stagnant or rather restrictive, complicated further by selective female foetus abortions.
- Reproductive rights: The Supreme Court has recognised women’s right to make reproductive choices and their decision to abort as a dimension of their personal liberty (in Mrs. X v. Union of India, 2017) and as falling within the realm of the fundamental right to privacy (in K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, 2017).
Argument against legalisation of abortion in India:
- Unsafe: It is estimated that 15.6 million abortions take place in India every year. A significant proportion of these are expected to be unsafe. Legalising abortion would further put mother’s life in danger especially in rural areas.
- Female foeticide: In India there is a major problem with female foeticide. For sociological and economic reasons parents prefer to have boy babies. When parents can discover the gender of the foetus in advance, they sometimes request the termination of a pregnancy solely because the foetus is female.
- Unethical: Abortion is morally wrong because it deprives the foetus of a valuable future. In a way it snatch foetus’ right to life.
- Damages women: Abortion because it can damage the long-term physical and emotional health of women who have an abortion.
- Women atrocities: Legalising abortion may lead to forceful abortion by the husband or family of husband in want of dowry or son.
It can be concluded that although legalising abortion strengthen women’s right to choose, it has much more fallouts than advantaged. Women have been oppressed since ages. Legalising abortion may further put women lives on life and lead to further atrocities.