On 29th September, the Supreme Court of India declared abortion is a fundamental right and that all women have the right to safe and legal abortion under the ‘Medical Termination of Pregnancy.’
Responding to the news, Ashutosh Kaushik, CEO of FRHS India, said:
“This is a huge victory for reproductive rights and choice in India and means that everyone can now access services up to 24 weeks whether or not they are married. We are glad that the Supreme Court recognises this essential right and has challenged the dangerous stereotype that only married women require abortion services.”
“At a time when sexual and reproductive health and rights are under threat globally, this progressive judgement is particularly welcomed. For the past four years, MSI’s programme in India, FRHS India, has worked with partners to deliver evidence-based advocacy to expand access to abortion, so we are delighted with this outcome.”
A bench of Justices delivered their verdict on the interpretation of the MTP Act after hearing a petition of a 25-year-old single woman whose plea to terminate her pregnancy was denied by the Delhi High Court.
The Supreme Court rightly felt that any distinction between married and single women under the abortion law is “artificial and constitutionally unsustainable” and said that:
“artificial and constitutionally unsustainable”
and said that:
“Law in modern times is shedding the notion that marriage is a precondition for the rights of persons. The MTP act must consider the realities of today and must not be restricted by old norms. The law must not remain static and must keep in mind changing social realities.”
Calling it a “ray of hope”, abortion and women rights activists across India welcomed and celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling, calling it a progressive move that will let women make their own decisions when it comes to their body and their future.