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The Supreme Court of the United States have taken the country back by several centuries with their new abortion laws, passed in late June this year. This law makes termination of pregnancy illegal beyond 12 weeks. It overturned the progressive abortion laws that were passed more than 150 years back. The new abortion laws have created a huge furore among women from all over the world, They have been very vociferous with their disappointment over the law infringing upon their rights over their bodies. Japan is in the process of passing a law legalising abortion after the consent of the partner involved. Fortunately, the Supreme Court of India has upheld the right of women to abortion in the country yesterday, 28th September 2022. As per the existing law, women across various categories can opt for a safe abortion till up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
6 Salient Features Of Abortion Laws In India 1. Provisions Regarding Termination Of Pregnancy
The law mentions that women in India can terminate a pregnancy in the following conditions: Abortion until the first 12 weeks Termination of pregnancy until the first 12 weeks is legally possible with the approval of one medical practitioner. Abortion between 12 to 20 weeks Termination of pregnancy between 12 to 20 weeks is legally possible with the approval of two medical practitioners.
2. Provisions Regarding Who Can Perform An Abortion In India
he fact that abortion in India is legal does not imply that anyone and everyone can perform it anywhere. Every medical institution with the licence to conduct medically-assisted abortions in the country issued by the Indian government has to display the certificate. There are some specific provisions that have to be followed to terminate a pregnancy legally. The doctor performing the abortion should have one of the below qualifications to be able to perform a pregnancy termination. – A surgeon with at least 6 months of experience in obstetrics and gynaecology.
3. Provisions Regarding Who Can Opt For An Abortion
Any woman can legally opt for an abortion in the following cases: – In case the pregnancy threatens her physical or mental health – She has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition and the pregnancy may endanger her life – The foetus shows a major risk of impending physical or mental handicap – In case she has children with congenital abnormalities – In case she contracts rubella or German measles in the first 3 months of pregnancy – Exposure of the unborn foetus to radiation – In case the unborn foetus is suffering from RH disease
In India, there is no need for spousal or parental approval before termination of a pregnancy provided the individual opting for an abortion is an adult.
The law mentions different rules for adult and underaged women. These are as below Abortion For Women Of 18 Years & Above Any woman of 18 years and above can legally undergo an abortion, irrespective of her marital status. Abortion For Women Below 18 Years For women below 18 years who want to opt for an abortion, a written consent from a guardian is necessary, along with a specific reason behind behind wanting to opt for the same.
A termination of pregnancy is considered to be illegal in India in certain circumstances. Sections 312 to 316 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 states circumstances where abortion is illegal and a punishable offence. These are as below: – An individual who causes a woman to undergo a miscarriage voluntarily will face imprisonment of up to 3 years, along with a fine. The provision of this law especially holds true for individuals who have caused a woman who undergo an abortion not with the intention of saving the life of the woman. – If the abortion occurs when the foetus’s movements can be felt by the mother, the actis punishable with imprisonment for up to 7 years, along with a fine. This law is also applicable for the pregnant woman who herself has caused the miscarriage under such circumstances.
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