Despite SC order, single women denied abortion

Source: The post is based on the article “Despite SC order, single women denied abortion” published in The Hindu on 9th January 2023

What is the News?

Despite a judgment of the Supreme Court that unmarried women too can terminate their pregnancy until 24 weeks, the situation on the ground remains dismal. Unmarried women are having to run from pillar to post to seek an abortion. 

What is the issue with the termination of pregnancy by single women?
MTP Act
Source: The Hindu

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Rules,2021 does not permit single women to abort after 20 weeks.

This rule was discriminatory as it only allowed “special categories” including survivors of sexual assault, minors, widows or divorcees, women with disabilities, a malformed foetus or women stuck in humanitarian emergencies to access abortion post-20 weeks.

Recently, the Supreme Court passed a judgement allowing unmarried and single women whose pregnancies are between 20 and 24 weeks to access safe and legal abortion care on par with their married counterparts.

However, there is no clear indication in the SC judgment telling the government to amend the MTP Act to include unmarried women within the extended 24-week ambit.

According to experts, it would have been better if the court had directed the government to change rules in accordance with the judgment. This is because many doctors are apprehensively citing the fact that the Act has not been amended.

Hence, unless the rules in the Act are changed, women will find it difficult to seek abortion in health facilities.

 

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