Should Aborting Unwanted Pregnancy Be a Crime?

January 14, 2023

The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.” – Mother Teresa (now declared saint by the Papacy).

However much I dislike the idea of abortion, you should not criminalize a woman who, in very difficult circumstances, makes that choice.” - Tony Blair, ex-British Prime Minister.

In India the laws and Supreme Court rulings on abortion seem to support abortion. But the ground realities seem different as highlighted in a recent article by Maitri Porech titled “Why the Supreme Court order on abortion is not helping women” in The Hindu (9/1/23) and excerpted here.

Despite the landmark judgment by the Supreme Court in September 2022 that unmarried women too can terminate their pregnancy until 24 weeks, the situation on the ground remains dismal as the MTP Act hasn’t been amended yet.

When Mumbai-based Shalini (name changed) walked into the State-run JJ Hospital in December 2022 seeking an abortion, she was turned away. Doctors at the hospital decided that her case was legally complicated. Her pregnancy had crossed 20 weeks, she was unmarried and the reason for her pregnancy was determined “as due to failure of contraception”. She then approached the Wadia Hospital, a charitable institution, which too turned her away.

Shalini wanted to discontinue her pregnancy as she was not ready to have the baby. When her pleas to two hospitals fell on deaf ears, Shalini had to finally move the Bombay High Court citing the Supreme Court judgment to get a favourable recourse.

Despite the fact that in September last year, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court passed a judgment that unmarried women too can terminate their pregnancy until 24 weeks, the situation on the ground remains dismal. Women are having to run from pillar to post to seek abortion.

Nikhil Datar, a senior gynaecologist and medical director at Cloudnine Hospital, says that despite the “SC having given an extremely progressive judgment on an individual case basis, the verdict leaves much to be desired”. Dr Datar’s activism since 2008 had helped pave the way to amend the rules of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, framed in 1971. He has helped 320 women access abortion pro-bono by helping them challenge the MTP Act provisions in court.

The SC judgment is progressive. However, a Catch-22 situation arises because there is no clear indication in the SC judgment telling the government to amend Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act to include unmarried women under the extended 24-week ambit.

Dr Datar further explains, “It would have been better if the court had directed the government to change rules in accordance with the judgment. Unless rules in the Act are changed in black and white, women will find it difficult to seek abortion in health facilities.”

Rule 3(2)(b) of the MTP (Amendment) Rules, 2021 does not permit single women to abort after 20 weeks. Dr Datar says that the rule is discriminatory as it only allows “special categories” including survivors of sexual assault, minors, widows or divorcees, women with disabilities, a malformed foetus or women stuck in humanitarian emergencies, to access abortion post 20 weeks.

Amit Mishra, a practicing lawyer in Delhi, had moved the SC against this discrimination, in the case of an unmarried 25-year-old Manipuri woman which led to the landmark verdict last year. Mishra told The Hindu that even after the judgment, many doctors are apprehensive citing the fact that the Act has not been amended… “The government will have to step up to promote safe abortions irrespective of the fact that the woman is married or not. This can include putting up awareness boards outside hospitals citing the judgment,” he said.

Dr Datar has moved the Supreme Court filing another Special Leave Petition challenging the current MTP (Amendment) Rules, 2021. “There are multiple loopholes in the current rules which need to be addressed,” he says.

The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response is welcome in the format given below (Please scroll down a bit). Once again Welcome to Reason.


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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • Priya, Mangalore

    Tue, Jan 17 2023

    Yes, abortion is crime. The life starts when a single cell is started to grow in mother's womb. So it doesn't matter even if it is few weeks older or months older. So murdering this small cell is a crime of killing a life. So woman who conceived with unwanted pregnancies must take care before itself as not get pregnant than later going for extreme steps. How painful for the unborn to get killed should be experienced to the mother as well who wants to abort. Rather going for abortion, let them give birth and then hand over the baby to someone who wants to adopt. However, for those cases, with pregnancies out of rape should be discussed with victim and family. The society needs to support such woman with empathy. Let them give birth and they can give the child to orphanage. The government must have some forums on such victims to give them new life. In above all, we should have strong laws to prohibit pre-marital sex. Why to support such things when it comes to pregnancy they want to move to pillar to pillar? and during this time no father of the unborn child comes to support the woman. so why woman should permit to use their body for unwanted pregnancy? Isnt prevention is better than cure?

  • Jossey saldanha, Raheja Waterfront

    Mon, Jan 16 2023

    Abortion should be equated with Murder ...

  • Daniel, Mangalore

    Sun, Jan 15 2023

    Abortion is killing an innocent life. Better give to orphanage than suffering life long guilt or go for more of these because of lack of respect or indifferent to human life, dignity and finally face Divine Wrath for it. It starts with one killing then goes on for business, genocide and ruthless communist control as follows... First liberal sex, then abortion, then euthanasia, then same sex marriages, then no gender or multiple genders to brainwash and convert many to eunuchs. Then in the name of so called virus sterilizing and transhumanising (technology merged with humans or humans2.0 through mRNA nano tech) and some slow euthanizing injections, WEF's eugenics elite, socialist russians and communist chinese agenda. To depopulate most Westerners, Europians, Israelites first also Rest of the World to 500 million from current 8 Billion population. As written in their Georgia Guidestone (Which was recently got destroyed) to bring their New World Order through Great Reset. ///// They call it as 4th industrial Revolution, to make World, elite's own! Using their BigPharma and WEF's global young liberal (modern name for communist) world leaders, these elite and communist chinese trying to ruthlessly control the whole world and enslave most of the humanity. It all started with communist liberal sex ideology and Abortion! which is started in Socialist Russia around 1920. May be after 2 to 3 generations world population comes down 500 million but looks like these eugenics elite want that figure by 2030!

  • Rita, Germany

    Sun, Jan 15 2023

    I s abortion a crime?I say yes.A pregnency is most costbar to women.That cant be bought in super markt or elsewhere.It is so some women dont want children ,but unfortunately she get pregnent unwanted and go to doctor to abort it.The other woman wants child at any price,goes to hill or do all tips and advices of all doctors ,But it doesnt .That depends on many reasons .well doctors ,supreme court gives a yes to abort many times .Doctors do it either for money or think it is ok .Have no feelings ,or think from law itself is allowed.I do say of course a abortion can be done when a womans life in danger to continue pregnency find ok .But not when a woman wants due to her financial side ,jobs side ,or her figur changes Never.How many women come from gulf to have it to Mumbai ,to get it done and go back because intheir job not allowed :Well then take care not to get pregnent.It is left to you how and why .Lot of methods are there to prevention.I say one thing.One has to experience during the abortion personally during op.That will never get away from your memory .I mean not as Patient but as asst.with your eyes.So thats my experience as asst by op.

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