07 Jul Right to choose – An Indian perspective
Right to choose – An Indian perspective – Today Current Affairs
Recently, U.S Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 landmark decision giving women in America the right to have an abortion before the foetus is viable outside the womb — before the 24–28-week mark. Abortion rights, which have been available to women for over two generations — will now be determined by individual States.
Today Current Affairs
About the Roe v/s Wade judgement:
- In 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States made the right to abortion a constitutional right, establishing a benchmark for abortion laws across the world.
Abortion Rights in India : The Hindu Analysis
MTP Act 1971 allows a woman to get an abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, in case of grave danger to woman’s physical and mental health.
- If the foetus is between 12 and 20 weeks old, then the procedure requires permission from 2 medical practitioners.
- The Act also allows abortion at any time, if the foetus will be born with severe abnormalities.
MTP (A) Bill 2020 : The Hindu Analysis
- It proposes to accepts failure of contraception, rape, incest or minor women as valid reasons for abortion not just in married but also in unmarried women.
- Raises the legally permissible limit for an abortion to 24 weeks from the current 20 weeks.
- Opinion of 1 registered medical practitioner for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation and 2 for up to 24 weeks.
Why it was necessary? The Hindu Analysis
India Journal of Medical Ethics points that “10 to 13% of maternal deaths in India are due to unsafe abortions”. Also, there is high incidence of unintended pregnancy.
Problems with the MTP A Bill : The Hindu Analysis
- The MTP Act also does not address any ethical issues like medical termination of pregnancy results in the death of a living being.
- Only the contraceptive-failure condition is for “any woman”; rest of provisions are for “only married woman”.
Section 377 : The Hindu Analysis
In 2013, SC of India in S.K Koushal vs Naz Foundation case upheld the section 377 of IPC, which prohibits any unnatural sex.
Navtej Singh Johar V. UoI 2018 : The Hindu Analysis
- The Yogyakarta Principles are a set of binding international legal standards in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Doctrine of progressive realization of rights : The Hindu Analysis
- Edmund Burke had emphasized that a Constitution embodies the spirit of a nation, which is ever-growing. That is, the scope of constitution expands by the past experiences and influences, which in turn makes the future better.
- Also, Thomas Jefferson has said “the constitution must go hand in hand with the progress of human mind.”
SC’s comments : The Hindu Analysis
- Section 377 is arbitrary. LGBT community possess rights like others. Majoritarian views and popular morality cannot dictate constitutional rights.
- Autonomy of an individual is important. He or she cannot surrender it to anyone.
- ‘Homosexuality is not a mental disorder.”
Thus, it can be seen that the right to choose, as an integral part of very basic human freedom is being expanded day by day in India. Seeing a judgement of that dilute that standard in USA – a source of inspiration for a lot of intellectual around the world is indeed heart-breaking.