Supreme Court admits petition to decriminalise abortion

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  1. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a PIL filed by three women seeking directions to decriminalise abortion.
  2. The petition has argued that women should have a right to decide on reproduction and abortion.
  3. The petition has further said that right of reproductive choice was at the core of liberty and personal autonomy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
  4. It has further argued that the right to choose whether to conceive and carry pregnancy to its full term or to terminate is at the core of one’s privacy, personal autonomy, bodily integrity, self-determination and right to health.
  5. The right to abortion is governed by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The government brought the MTP Act as a “health measure”.
  6. The Act allows women to abort foetuses up to 20-weeks-old.Up to 12 weeks it requires no reason.
  7. Between 12 and 20 weeks the grounds for abortion are limited to a) Where continuance of pregnancy would cause risk to the life of the pregnant woman or cause grave injury to her physical or mental health and b) Where there exists a substantial risk that if the child is born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.
  8. There is an exception to the 20 week bar if doctors certify serious risk to the pregnant women’s life in case it is continued.