According to a decision issued on Thursday by India’s Supreme Court, all women may have abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies, regardless of their marital status. India Supreme Court says amended law to cover single women too.
Prior to this change, married women in India were allowed to abort their unborn children up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy, but single women were only allowed to do so up to 20 weeks. The 24-week timeframe was extended to all women by the court on Thursday. Reproductive rights advocates applauded the decision, saying the court had made sure that the legislation does not discriminate and had extended the right to safe and legal abortions to single women.
No matter their marital status, the court ruled that every woman has a right to a safe and legal abortion. A number of types of women are now permitted to obtain abortions between 20 and 24 weeks after the government modified the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP) last year. It stated that it would be “unconstitutional” to bar unmarried women from participating in mutually beneficial relationships.
In spite of the fact that abortions have been legal in India since 1971, strict regulations regarding who is allowed to end a pregnancy have been put in place over time as a result of the millions of female fetuses that have been aborted, which has resulted in a horribly unbalanced gender ratio in the nation. Indians have historically expressed a preference for sons over daughters.
The ruling on Thursday made it clear that the amendment must also include unmarried women who are in consensual relationships because it did not make a distinction between married and unmarried women.
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