Abortion can be carried out within 24 weeks of getting pregnant irrespective of marital status: Supreme Court

In a major decision by Supreme Court regarding abortion, it was ruled out that women irrespective of there marital status, may her be married or not, is entitled to safe and legal abortion and this can be done till 24 weeks of getting pregnant under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) act.

Along with this, the bench of Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice JB Pardiwala, said some important things related to marital rape, saying that the definition of rape must include marital rape.

“Married women may also form part of class of survivors of sexual assault or rape. Ordinary meaning of the word rape is sexual intercourse with a person without their consent or against their will regardless of whether such forced intercourse occurs in the context of matrimony,” the court said.

The court said the distinction between married and unmarried women under the abortion laws is “artificial and constitutionally unsustainable” and supports the stereotype that only married woman are sexually active which is not the actual case. Followed by which the court added that the provisions of the abortion law, amended in 2021 to include the word “partner” instead of “husband”.

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