Home / Opinion / Quick Edit /  It’s her choice

In a ruling with far-reaching implications, the Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a distinction between married and unmarried women when it comes to access to abortion services. A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud held that unmarried women in a consensual relationship, too, have the right to choose to abort a pregnancy between 20 and 24 weeks. Till now, only married women were entitled to such a provision under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. In modern times, marriage cannot be a precondition for the rights of an individual, the court said. The judgement goes further. While rape survivors are entitled to seek an MTP, the court has stated that this protection will be extended to married women too. Our laws do not recognize marital rape as a crime. An exception carved out for purposes of the MTP Act signals a big shift. In contrast to the war on abortion rights in the US, India’s record has been quite progressive. Legislators last year allowed abortion up to 20 weeks for unmarried women too. The court’s ruling draws on the same spirit. It underlines the obvious that in decisions that involve her body, a woman’s autonomy is the last word.

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