Kopar Khairane
National

In the case of Woman’s Autonomy vs. Rights of the Fetus, the Supreme Court rejected the woman’s request to abort her 26-week pregnancy

<p>The Supreme Court denied a woman’s request to terminate her 26-week pregnancy on Monday in a case that pitted a woman’s right to her body against a foetus’ rights.<img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-238992″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-download-2023-10-16t182344.615.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com download 2023 10 16t182344.615″ width=”1223″ height=”734″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-download-2023-10-16t182344.615.jpg 290w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-download-2023-10-16t182344.615-150×90.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1223px) 100vw, 1223px” title=”In the case of Woman's Autonomy vs. Rights of the Fetus, the Supreme Court rejected the woman's request to abort her 26-week pregnancy 21″></p>
<p>There was no urgent harm to the lady and no anomaly in the fetus, according to the Supreme Court bench chaired by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud.</p>
<p>The Apex Court concluded that in the absence of any such requirements, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 does not permit the pregnancy to be terminated.</p>
<p>The SC ruled that the mother was free to retain the kid or place them for adoption and ordered the state to cover all medical expenses in the case.</p>
<p>The SC had previously said at a hearing that “we cannot kill a child” and that it was important to “balance out the rights of the unborn child.”</p>
<p>The case involves a 27-year-old married lady who is now three months pregnant and has previously given birth to two children. She had asked for the termination of her pregnancy because she felt “emotionally, financially, and mentally” incapable of caring for a third kid. She had post-partum psychosis, according to a medical board that looked at the case.</p>
<p>Abortion is now legal in India under revisions to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of 1971 with the consent of one doctor within 12 weeks and two doctors within 20 weeks. In ‘exceptional instances’, as defined by the MTP Rules, abortion is permitted for certain groups of women up to 24 weeks.</p>
<p>Regarding the present case, the Apex Court permitted the lady to continue with a medical termination of pregnancy on October 9 after considering her mental state. Due to Lactational Amenorrhea, a disorder where nursing suppresses menstruation, the petitioner found out about her pregnancy later than expected. The lady also made an attempt at suicide, which was disclosed to the court. The court concluded as a result that an unintended pregnancy brought on by the failure of contraceptive measures is equivalent to a forced pregnancy, for which abortion is permitted under the law up to 24 weeks.</p>
<p>The matter was once more referred to a two-judge women bench, which delivered a split decision on the Centre’s request for the recall of its October 9 order. However, a day after AIIMS authorities wrote to Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, who represented the government in the matter, saying the foetus appeared to be “viable” and had a “strong possibility of survival,” the matter was again referred to the bench. While disagreeing and stating that her judicial conscience forbade her from approving the abortion, Justice BV Nagarathna said that the woman’s choice had to be honored.</p>
<p>The case was subsequently heard by a bench presided over by the Chief Justice of India (CJI), who made significant remarks on the necessity to “balance out the rights of the unborn child” and how the rights of a woman “must trump” when it comes to abortion.</p>
<p>Without a question, our legal system is significantly superior than those of other nations. This is not going to be a Roe vs Wade case. Our legal system is open-minded and pro-choice, the CJI said. Even though Indian courts have been flexible in their application of the MTP Act, the “foetal viability” standard has not been raised in prior abortion cases. The hearing is currently scheduled on October 16.</p>
<p>Despite a relatively permissive regulation, writers at Outlook have written about the difficulties with abortion in India. Despite the fact that the MTP Act grants all Indian women the right to abort a fetus up to 20 weeks of pregnancy and up to 24 weeks for women who meet specific requirements, thousands of women still face restrictions on their physical autonomy and reproductive rights due to the patriarchal attitudes of healthcare professionals and other service providers as well as the improper application of anti-feticide and abortion laws.</p>
<p>The right to decisional autonomy of a pregnant woman takes priority over the rights of the fetus, according to a number of rulings in India’s highest courts. In September 2022, the Supreme Court of India issued a landmark decision declaring that all women, regardless of their marital status, had the right to a safe abortion. In rejecting the legality of Rule 3(b) of the MTP Rules’ exclusion of unmarried women, CJI DY Chandrachud said, “The interpretation of MTP needs to reflect the social reality. Women who are married or single are treated equally under the 2021 Statement of Objects.</p>
<p>Outlook has previously written on how physical and psychological pain that an unmarried woman goes through when she attends one of the nation’s best hospitals for the surgery, still exists in India despite progressive verdicts on abortion.</p>
<p>Due to stigma and service provider prejudice, access to abortion services is still limited in the nation. According to Outlook, many women choose risky abortion techniques because of shame and stigma, fear of telling their families, and other factors.</p>
<p>Outlook has covered the ramifications of the US Supreme Court’s decision to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision, which had previously safeguarded a woman’s right to an abortion under the Constitution’s right to privacy, in great detail, apart from India.</p>
<p>We examine some examples of how women’s reproductive rights have frequently been neglected in our society and how the decision to end one’s own pregnancy is never in the hands of the woman in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling amid discussions over a woman’s bodily autonomy and the rights of a foetus.</p>

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