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News item

India Supreme Court Legalises Safe Abortion - Irrespective of Marital Status

In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court said that all women irrespective of marital status are entitled to safe and legal abortion.

We welcome the Indian Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that all women, irrespective of their marital status, are entitled to safe and legal abortion.
The Supreme Court observed that the 2021 amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP) does not make a distinction between married and unmarried woman. 

“The rights of reproductive autonomy give an unmarried women similar right as a married woman… The foetus relies on the woman's body to sustain. Therefore, the decision to terminate is firmly rooted in their right of bodily autonomy. If the State forces a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to the full term, it will amount to an affront to her dignity,” the court said, as per the media reports.

The court, also for the first time in legal parlance recognised marital rape, under rape, for the specific purpose of the MTP.

“We celebrate Supreme Court of India’s ruling, which rightly underlines the bodily autonomy of all women to make decisions about their bodies without any prejudice or pressure. It upholds the right to access quality abortion services to unmarried women and survivors of marital rape. The ruling paves the way for strengthening the current abortion care guideline in the country to include the scope for abortion self-care which centers around autonomy, privacy, and confidentiality. Health service providers like us must dauntlessly work together to leverage this landmark judgment and ensure that no woman in India dies due to unsafe abortions,” said Sonal Mehta, Regional Director IPPF SARO.

Read more on the court's ruling here.