The court rejected the petition saying that there were health and legal issues around the abortions of rape victims.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court has dismissed a petition, seeking direction to make changes to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTPA) for rape survivors so that they don’t have to approach the court even after crossing 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The court rejected the petition saying that there were health and legal issues around the abortions of rape victims/survivors, which is why the petition could not be allowed.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pradip Nandrajog and Justice Bharti Dangre was hearing the PIL filed by the NGO, Association for Aiding Justice, based on two points. The first being setting up of medical boards as autonomous bodies to take a decision on the abortion of more than 20 weeks’ old foetus so as to not delay the MTP process in following court procedures. The second being the petitioner’s request to allow minor rape victims to abort their foetus even after 20 weeks as in rape cases, women usually approached courts or hospitals at an advanced stage of pregnancy due to lack of knowledge or fear of social stigma.
The petitioner said that it was about time that abortion was made a qualified right as the law did not recognise women as individuals with autonomy over their own bodies.
The petitioner also said that each country had its own arbitrary laws that were more influenced by religious and moral beliefs than science. While on the one hand, places like Chile and Vatican City did not allow abortions for any reason, those like France, Germany, Greece and Russia allowed abortion for any reason, usually up to 20 weeks.
Fifty-eight out of the 196 countries in the world provided abortions on request, and 134 countries only allowed abortions to preserve the woman’s life and health.