Supreme Court : Unmarried women cannot be denied right to abortion

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India overturned a Delhi High Court Order thereby allowing a Manipur girl deserted by her partner to abort her pregnancy of 24 weeks, subject to medical expert certification on the safety of the women. The order assumes significance as it fills in a legislative gap in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act on an unmarried woman’s right to terminate a 20-24 weeks pregnancy arising out of a consensual relationship.

The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and AS Bopanna emphasised that a woman’s right to reproductive choice is an inseparable part of her personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution and she has a sacrosanct right to bodily integrity. The top court said “”There is no basis to deny unmarried women the right to medically terminate the pregnancy, when the same choice is available to other categories of women.” The bench further added “Denying an unmarried woman the right to a safe abortion violates her personal autonomy and freedom.”

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