It is 2022, and abortion is back in talks for the United States. A recently leaked draft of the United States Supreme Court has revealed that the right to abortion could be overruled. Roe v Wade is the landmark judgment that provided the women of the United States the right to abort decided in 1973, enabling women to practice bodily autonomy.
In Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court stated that the right to abortion is enshrined in their constitutional right to privacy. This judgment ensured that the women had the right to abortion with minimal influence from the State.
Do women have the right to Abortion in India?
Abortion is a medical term for retrieving an unwanted/unhealthy fetus from a woman's womb. Abortion was illegal in India, too, until the 1960s. In the year 1966 Shantilal Shah Committee was established to consider legalising abortion. The revolutionary Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act passed in 1960 made abortions legal in India.
Abortion laws in India allow bodily autonomy and freedom to women. They give women the right to terminate a pregnancy until the 20th week of the pregnancy. Indian women thus have the right to abortion with minimum state interference. The State has the right to interfere in some instances where the pregnancy has surpassed the 20 weeks bar.
Why is it necessary to have Abortion laws in any State?
Abortion is a safe way to avoid unwanted pregnancies. There are cases where the fetus is unhealthy, retarded, or under-developed. There are many cases where the victims of rape have approached the court to abort their pregnancies. Abortion laws also ensure that the process of abortion is safe and not performed by unlicensed practitioners.
In the Suchita v Chandigarh Administration, the Apex court held that the women have the right to go ahead or abort a pregnancy that occurred out of rape.
Another case highlighting the importance of the right to abortion and the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act is the Gujrat High court judgment. Gujarat High Court 2015 rejected the petition of a 14-year-old rape victim to terminate her 24-week-old pregnancy. However, the Supreme Court allowed the petitioner to get the pregnancy terminated.
How does the leaked draft of the USA affect us?
Even though such drafts and precedents do not directly impact our country, it is a direct blow to women's rights. Women have obtained equal status after ages. Today's rights and laws result from many generations of protests and sacrifices.
The right to abortion is a right to privacy under the 14th Amendment in the USA in 1988. Taking away the right to abort a pregnancy will take a toll on women's health and the off-springs. There is also a concern about the increase in the population of orphaned children and the black market for abortion.