Unmarried women have right to safe abortion : Supreme Court

Tags: National News

The Supreme Court, in an order on July 21, held that denying an unmarried woman the right to a safe abortion is a violation of her personal autonomy and liberty.

Important facts

  • Justice Chandrachud was hearing an appeal by a woman who wanted to abort her 24-week pregnancy as she had become pregnant before marriage and was abandoned by her partner.

  • The Delhi High Court had dismissed her plea saying that abortion of an unmarried woman was not covered under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.

Judgement of Supreme Court

  • The bench said that the live-in relationship has already been recognized by the Supreme Court.

  • There are a large number of people in the social mainstream who do not see any harm in having premarital sex.

  • A woman’s right to reproductive choice is an inseparable part of her personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

  • A woman has a sacrosanct right to bodily integrity.

  • A woman's right to make reproductive choices is also a dimension of 'personal liberty'.

  • The court said that forcing a woman to continue with her pregnancy would not only violate her physical integrity but would also aggravate her mental trauma.

  • The Supreme Court directed that the AIIMS director should constitute a medical board to conduct a medical examination of the woman and see whether the abortion of the woman poses any threat to her life.

  • If the medical board comes to the conclusion that there is no risk of termination of pregnancy at 24 weeks, then the pregnancy of the woman should be terminated.

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