The Supreme Court concluded today that all women have the right to a safe and lawful abortion procedure and that it is illegal to differentiate between married and unmarried women in this regard.
The court also recognised marital rape in the landmark decision by the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna, and JB Pardiwala, however only as it relates to abortion.
Regarding the abortion statute, the SC argued that making a distinction between married and single women is arbitrary, unconstitutional, and feeds the myth that only married women engage in sexual activity.
According to the SC, unmarried women are also permitted to seek abortions for pregnancies that result from consensual relationships between 20 and 24 weeks.The bench had earlier in the month stated that it would interpret the MTP Act and the associated rules so that discrimination against married and unmarried women is eliminated in order to permit abortion up until 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The SC had stated it would like to include a category of women who suffer desertion regardless of marital status to the seven categories of women eligible to seek abortion up until 24 weeks of pregnancy after observing there is a need to “fine-tune” the provisions under the MTP laws. “An unmarried woman’s personal autonomy and freedom are violated when her right to a safe abortion is denied. This Court has acknowledged live-in relationships, “It read.
A 25-year-old single woman’s petition led to the historic decision. The woman had filed an appeal against a Delhi High Court decision that stated that because she was single and the pregnancy was the result of a consenting relationship, she was not entitled to an abortion under the Act.The woman reported being 23 weeks along in her pregnancy.
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