Women across the world are continuously fighting to get their basic rights which have not been acknowledged over the years. In some countries, situations are better than in others, and in some, it is worse. Talking about abortion rights for women, which clearly was never a point of discussion has now become a raging issue, well here I believe India is in a much better position. As we all saw, how this human right was taken away from the US women in the most gutted judgement by their court. India’s Supreme Court on the other hand is definitely leading the world when it comes to being progressive with abortion rights. In a recent trailblazing verdict passed by the Supreme Court, all women irrespective of their marital status are eligible to opt for a safe abortion.
It is really important to understand that a woman is the only one who owns the right to her body. This clearly was not acknowledged by the US Court when they turned down the Roe Vs Wade judgement. Pregnancy for a woman is not always consensual, and therefore even thinking about taking away her abortion rights from them is condemnable. But I was really glad to come across the judgement by the Indian Supreme Court. A judiciary plays a very crucial role in shaping the mindset of the country through their judgements, but in this case, our Supreme Court is setting an example for the world.
In a court hearing on Monday, September 29, the Supreme Court stated the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, according to which women have the right to abort unwanted pregnancies till 24 weeks. The court clearly put forth that this right applies to every woman irrespective of their marital status, whether she is single or not, she cannot be stripped of her abortion rights. The judgement came from a bench presided over by Justice D Y Chandrachud. In fact, the court also highlighted the fact of how important it is for a woman to be mentally happy about the pregnancy and if she is not, that affects the foetus as well. Therefore these decisions should not be taken under societal pressures. The bench also brought up the issue of non-consensual pregnancies even within a marriage, which could be a result of a sexual assault too, as per the news report. Through this, the court raised the issue of marital rape and stated that this should also be considered part of rape.
My country does disappoint me when it comes to the safety of women or curtailing the crimes against us, but these judgements also give me some hope for change. Abortion is a right woman has, it should never be a topic of debate. It is a woman’s body to decide whether or not she is willing to bear the child. The fact that a developed nation like America failed to see this, is disappointing. And, I just hope that the verdict pronounced by our country’s apex court adds a guiding light for every country where women are deprived of abortion rights.