Supreme Court’s Landmark Judgement: Right To Abortion For All!! Married Or Unmarried Women!!

The Supreme Court today gave a landmark judgement by giving the right to abortion to all the women of the country, whether they are married or unmarried. The apex court said that under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, everyone has the right to abortion at 24 weeks. Under this right it does not matter whether the woman is married or unmarried.

The apex court held that the marital status of a woman cannot be made a ground to deprive her of the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Single and unmarried women all have the right to abortion under the said law at 24 weeks of pregnancy. The Supreme Court has said regarding abortion that the wife can get an abortion within the prescribed limit of 24 weeks even in the case of ‘marital rape’ by the husband. And this should be covered under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP). And this right will be a relief to those women who are compelled to continue with the unwanted pregnancy.

Supreme Court interprets MTP Act

A three-judge bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said that ‘marital rape’ should also be considered to be included in the said law. The apex court in its judgment while interpreting the MTP Act said that the distinction between married and unmarried women is artificial and cannot be constitutionally maintained in view of the purposes of the said law. And it is perpetuating the stereotype that only married women indulge in sexual relations.

The Supreme court also noted that the amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act in 2021 used the word partner instead of husband to include an unmarried woman as well. The apex court has held that the parliamentary intent was not to limit the benefits of conditions arising out of marital relations. In fact, it is permissible for a widow or divorced woman to terminate a pregnancy of 20-24 weeks.

Depriving single and unmarried women violates the right to equality
This historic decision was delivered by a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud. The Court said that it is unfair to include single women within the purview of Rule 3B of the said Act. This is a violation of the fundamental right to equality of all under Article 14 of the Constitution. Prohibiting unmarried and single women from abortion and allowing only married women violates the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined in the Constitution.