Unwed woman cannot be denied right to abortion, says Supreme Court
Women have right to safe abortion: On July 21, while hearing the petition of an unmarried woman, the bench said, it is part of personal liberty.
Denying the right to a safe abortion to an unmarried woman is a violation of her personal autonomy and freedom, the Supreme Court said in an order on Thursday. Women have right to safe abortion: Supreme Court during hearing
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud was hearing an appeal by a woman who wanted an abortion after her relationship failed and her partner abandoned her.
The lower court took an “unnecessarily restrictive view” that her plea for safe abortion was not covered under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act because the pregnancy originated from a consensual relationship outside of marriage.
Reprimanding the lower court, the bench said that live-in relationship has already been recognized by the Supreme Court. There were a large number of people in the social mainstream who do not see any harm in having premarital sex.
The law could not be used to extinguish “concepts of social morality” and unreasonably interfere with their personal autonomy and bodily integrity.
Women have right to safe abortion:
The court said the amendment to the Act in 2021 had replaced the word ‘husband’ with ‘partner’, a clear indication that the law covers unmarried women in its purview.
“The right of a woman to reproductive choice is an inseparable part of her personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. He has a sacred right to bodily integrity.
There is no doubt that a woman’s right to make a reproductive choice is also a dimension of ‘individual liberty’,” the Supreme Court cited examples.
The court said that forcing a woman to continue with her pregnancy would not only violate her physical integrity but would also aggravate her mental trauma.
The court ordered setting up of a medical board by AIIMS, which would examine whether it was safe for a woman to abort and submit a report within a week.
Justice Chandrachud observed, “The distinction between a married and unmarried woman has nothing to do with the basic object and object sought to be achieved by the Parliament, which is specifically stated by the provisions of section 3 of the Act.”
Parliament intended to include unmarried women and single women within the purview of the Act by amending the MTP Act in 2021, which is evident from the replacement of the word “husband” with “partner” in Explanation I of Section 3(2) of the Act, the SC said.
“Explanation 1 expressly considers a situation which includes an unwanted pregnancy resulting from the failure of any instrument or method…
Parliamentary intent expressly restricts the beneficial provisions of the MTP Act to a situation involving marital relations only. Do not keep.”
The bench has fixed the matter for hearing on August 2.