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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

SC: All women entitled to safe and legal abortion

The exclusion of unmarried women who conceive outside of a live-in relationship from the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, according to a bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, is unconstitutional.

NEW DELHI:

In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on September 29 said that all women, irrespective of their marital status, are entitled to safe and legal abortion till 24 weeks of pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.

The exclusion of unmarried women who conceive outside of a live-in relationship from the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, according to a bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, is unconstitutional. “All women have the right to safe and legal abortion,” declared the Supreme Court.

It added that the rights of reproductive autonomy give an unmarried woman similar right as a married woman. The top court noted that the 2021 amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, does not make a distinction between married and unmarried women.

The top court said the artificial distinction between married and unmarried women cannot be sustained. “Women must have autonomy to have free exercise of rights…,” noted the bench.

On August 23, the Supreme Court had said it would interpret Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and the rules to eliminate the discrimination between married and unmarried women for allowing abortion till 24 weeks of pregnancy.

On July 21, the top court had allowed a 25-year-old to abort her 24-week pregnancy arising out of a consensual relationship.

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