Women in India can access abortion up to 20 weeks under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 on specific conditions which include grave injury to a woman’s physical or mental health, rape, failure of contraceptive used by a married woman or her husband and in case of fetal abnormalities. Furthermore, Section 5 of the Act also allows a provider to terminate the pregnancy to save a woman’s life anytime during the pregnancy (even after 20 weeks).
Even though, the Abortion law in India is quite liberal, women face several barriers in accessing services, which results in a number of unsafe abortions in India. One such threat to access to safe abortion is the growing misconception that judicial authorization is required for abortion- even though there is no such specification under the MTP Act. More women are increasingly knocking the door of the courts to seek judicial redressal even in cases where pregnancy is below 20 weeks gestation. This has contributed further to the stigma around abortion and abortion seekers. In many cases, seeking approval from courts has also led to unnecessary delays and inadequate consideration of risks to the woman’s health, forcing them to continue an unwanted pregnancy.
Pratigya Campaign for Gender Equality and Safe Abortion in partnership with Centre for Reproductive Rights has launched an initiative to address this growing misconception by calling on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to clarify that judicial approval is not required to access Abortion. A petition has been made online calling for support in championing women’s health, rights and agency so that they can take decisions regarding their own pregnancy without third party involvement.
Sign the petition to register your support. Take Action Now: Please click here.