Source– The post is based on the article “No discrimination” published in The Hindu on 1st October 2022.
Syllabus: GS1- Social empowerment. GS2- Vulnerable sections
Relevance– Abortion rights of women
News– The article explains the recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights of unmarried women. It also explains the ruling by Delhi High Court on abortion by unmarried women.
What is Supreme Court ruling ion abortion of unmarried women?
The Supreme Court ruled that single and unmarried women have the same right to a medically safe abortion as married women.
There is no rationale for excluding single or unmarried women from the categories of women who could seek abortion care after the completion of 20 weeks of pregnancy, but before 24 weeks.
Change in marital status is one of the reasons for which abortion during the extended upper limit of 24 weeks is permissible. Even abandonment by the partner could constitute a change in circumstances that could impact a woman’s decision about the pregnancy.
Unwanted pregnancy affects a woman’s physical and mental health. So, it is quite important that she alone should decide about abortion.
The legislature has allowed abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy. It is allowed if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion that continuing the pregnancy would involve a risk to the woman’s life and health.
Rape survivors who may legally seek an abortion in the extended period of 24 weeks will also include survivors of marital rape.
What was the earlier ruling by Delhi High Court?
The Delhi High Court had declined to allow the termination of the pregnancy of a 25-year-old woman who was in a consensual relationship. She wanted to terminate the pregnancy after her partner declined to marry her.
The High Court cited rule 3B. It contains the list of the women eligible for termination of pregnancy such as rape survivors, minors, those with physical disabilities and mental illness. Court observed that the list does not mention single women who had become pregnant in a consensual relationship.