Abortion is legal in India . The bill was first passed by Parliament in 1971, which became law, but in 2021, some necessary amendments were made in it.
In the context of abortion, two situations are considered most important. One, how many weeks is the pregnancy? Secondly, women’s rights and their bodily autonomy were given top priority.
Now such a hearing is going on in the Supreme Court that along with the physical autonomy of the woman, the living fetus in the womb, i.e. the unborn child, also has the rights.
It cannot be terminated in view of the woman’s wish. The Chief Justice of the country Justice DY Chandrachud has raised some humanitarian questions whether he should call the doctor of AIIMS and ask him to stop the heartbeat of the unborn child? The fetus cannot be killed like this.
The judicial bench has clarified that an unborn child is a living and normally developed fetus. The top court will have to balance his rights with his mother’s right to autonomy in decision-making.
The rights of the unborn child also cannot be ignored. The matter has come before the Supreme Court through a petition by a married woman, who has come to the court seeking permission to terminate her 26-week pregnancy.
However, a divided decision of two women judges has come out on this issue.
Justice BV Nagarathna has allowed abortion ‘in the best interests of the woman’, while Justice Hima Kohli has refused permission citing concern and concern for the ‘viable fetus’.
As a result, judicial and medical confusion over the law and rights of abortion has increased further. This should be resolved immediately.
Chief Justice Justice Chandrachud is presiding over a separate judicial bench, yet he has expressed the court’s concern over the rights of the unborn child.
This judicial bench has asked the Center and the petitioner’s counsel to talk to the pregnant petitioner woman about the possibility of maintaining the pregnancy for a few more weeks.
If the child is taken out through surgery as per the woman’s request, then there is a possibility of physical and mental disorders occurring in it. Such are the findings of medical reports.
Through this case, abortion has become an issue of national concern. Despite many progressive changes in the law, organizations and associated activists working in this field believe that there is still scope for improvements in the law.
The period of pregnancy given in law as 20-24 weeks should be further increased. If the pregnancy is after 24 weeks and the woman wants to terminate it, there should be a provision for a decision to be taken by a medical board.
This should also not prove to be a ‘bad joke’, because there are still such areas in our country where doctors cannot be found even after searching.
Yet today it should be made absolutely clear to the medical profession and the court that the decision of the pregnant woman should be respected. Only his health should be kept under consideration.
In the present case, the Government of India has intervened and said that the medical board has concluded that the fetus is alive and can take birth. In such a situation, can the woman’s wishes and state of mind be ignored?
The same judges whose decisions are divided today had earlier jointly ruled that a woman has full rights over her own body. However, this petition has been filed under Article 32 of the Constitution.
Under this, every citizen of India can ask the apex court to protect his fundamental rights. How many women in the country are able to reach court regarding pregnancy is also an important question.
The question of the rights of the unborn child has been raised by the Chief Justice himself, so this complex situation must be addressed in its entirety.
The Honorable Court is also right in saying that it cannot order the destruction of the unborn child.