AP

India’s top court gives equal abortion access to all women

Sep 29, 2022, 5:21 AM | Updated: Oct 1, 2022, 5:08 am

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that all women, regardless of marital status, can obtain abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies.

Previously, under India’s abortion law, married women could have abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies, but single women were limited to 20 weeks. On Thursday, the court extended the 24-week period to all women.

The judgment was cheered by reproductive rights activists, who said the court had ensured that the law does not discriminate and expands the right to safe and legal abortions to single women.

“Now, all the rights that married women have, single women will also have,” said Aparna Chandra, an associate professor of law at the National Law School of India, who works on reproductive justice. In its judgment, the court “breaks away from the stigma that is attached to single women getting pregnant,” she said.

Abortion has been legal in India since 1971 under the Medical Termination Pregnancy Act. In 2021, the law was amended to allow certain categories of women — including married women who were divorced or widowed, minors, rape victims or mentally ill women — to obtain abortions up to 24 weeks, raising it from the previous 20 weeks. But the changes did not include single women, causing many to question why the law differentiated on the basis of marital status.

“The artificial distinction between married and unmarried women cannot be sustained. Women must have autonomy to have free exercise of these rights,” Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud said.

The court said denying single women the same access to abortion violated the right to equality before the law under India’s Constitution.

Abortion rights have been a contentious issue across the world, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned the Roe v. Wade judgment which had established a constitutional right to abortion in the country.

“Internationally, judgments affect each other — and this is a landmark one because it recognizes a woman’s right over her body and reproductive freedom regardless of what governments and legislatures might say,” said Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy.

The ruling came after an unmarried woman in a consensual relationship was denied an abortion by a lower court in July because she was past 20 weeks in her pregnancy. Later that month, the Supreme Court allowed her to get an abortion up to her 24th week of pregnancy, and on Thursday extended that right to all women.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incid...

Associated Press

American Airlines CEO calls removal of Black passengers from Phoenix flight ‘unacceptable’

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incident in which several Black passengers were removed from a flight in Phoenix.

2 days ago

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

4 days ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

8 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

9 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

12 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

India’s top court gives equal abortion access to all women