Right To a Safe Abortion:
Denying an unmarried woman the right to a safe abortion violates her personal autonomy and freedom, the Supreme Court held in an order.
- A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud was hearing the appeal of a woman who wanted to abort her 24-week pregnancy after her relationship failed and her partner left her.
- The lower court had taken an “unduly restrictive view” that her plea for a safe abortion was not covered under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act as the pregnancy arose from a consensual relationship outside wedlock.
- Chastising the lower court, the Bench said live-in relationships had already been recognised by the Supreme Court.
- There were a significant number of people in social mainstream who see no wrong in engaging in pre-marital sex.
- The law could not be used to quench “notions of social morality” and unduly interfere in their personal autonomy and bodily integrity.
- The court noted that an amendment to the Act in 2021 had substituted the term ‘husband’ with ‘partner’, a clear signal that the law covered unmarried women within its ambit.
- A woman’s right to reproductive choice is an inseparable part of her personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. She has a sacrosanct right to bodily integrity.