INTRODUCTION

Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death.[1] An abortion can occur spontaneously due to complications during pregnancy or can be induced in humans and other species. In the context of human pregnancies, an abortion induced to preserve the health of the gravida (pregnant female) is termed a therapeutic abortion, while an abortion induced for any other reason is termed an elective abortion. The term abortion most commonly refers to the induced abortion of a human pregnancy, while spontaneous abortions are usually termed miscarriages. Abortion has a low risk of maternal mortality except for abortions performed unsafely, which result in 70,000 deaths and 5 million disabilities per year globally.[2] Abortions are unsafe when performed by persons without the proper skills or outside of a medically safe environment. An estimated 42 million abortions are performed annually with 20 million of those abortions done unsafely around the world. [2] Forty percent of the world's women are able to access therapeutic and elective abortions within gestational limits.[3] Abortion has a long history and has been induced by various methods including herbal abortifacients, the use of sharpened tools, physical trauma, and other traditional methods. Contemporary medicine utilizes medications and surgical procedures to induce abortion. The legality, prevalence, cultural status, and religious status of abortion vary substantially around the world. In many parts of the world there is prominent and divisive public controversy over the ethical and legal issues of abortion. Abortion and abortion-related issues feature prominently in the national politics in many nations, often

involving the opposing pro-life and pro-choice worldwide social movements (both selfnamed). Incidence of abortion has declined worldwide as access to family planning education and contraceptive services has increased.

The MTP Act (Act No. 34 of 1971) has been defined in its opening lines as ‘An Act to provide for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto’. Passed by Parliament on August 10, 1971, this is a Central Act that extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which adopted it in 1980. The purpose of this act was to define the situations and circumstances in which safe abortion could be legally performed and to empower medical practitioners and institutions delivering this service. All practice of induced abortion medical or surgical has to be conducted against the all-pervading backdrop of the MTP Act.

The MTP Act – A Protective Umbrella

Even today, voluntarily ‘causing miscarriage’ to a woman with child – other than in ‘good faith for the purpose of saving her life’ is a crime under Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code, punishable by simple or rigorous imprisonment and/or fine. Consequent sections (IPC Sections 313 – 316) relating to causing miscarriage without a pregnant woman’s consent or causing maternal death due to the procedure are stricter, with punishments ranging from up to 10 years imprisonment, and extending up to life imprisonment.

The MTP Act is an empowering legislation, which if adhered to completely, offers protective umbrella allowing clinicians to offer legal safe abortion services within welldefined limits. The use of medical methodsfor early abortion is also completely covered by the MTP Act.

MTP Act, MTP Rules and MTP Regulations

The MTP Act is an Act of Parliament providing a broad overview of the methodology of safe abortion practice and defining and delegating authority to central and state governments to make rules and regulations. The MTP Rules are framed by the Central Government, but must be placed before each House of Parliament. The MTP Regulations are framed by State Governments and relate to issues involving opinions for termination, reporting and maintaining secrecy. The importance of this distinction is the possible flexibility in introducing or modifying rules and regulations within the ambit of the Act without having to steer amendments through Parliament. The potential for appropriate changes in rules and regulations to encompass medical methods is particularly significant, since this new development is not adequately reflected in the present rules and regulations.

TYPES Induced

A 10-week-old fetus removed via a therapeutic abortion from a 44-year-old woman diagnosed with early-stage uterine cancer. The uterus (womb), included the fetus. A pregnancy can be intentionally aborted in many ways. The manner selected depends chiefly upon the gestational age of the embryo or fetus, which increases in size as the pregnancy progresses.[5] Specific procedures may also be selected due to legality, regional availability, and doctor-patient preference. Reasons for procuring induced abortions are typically characterized as either therapeutic or elective. An abortion is medically referred to as a therapeutic abortion when it is performed to:
  

save the life of the pregnant woman;[6] preserve the woman's physical or mental health;[6] terminate pregnancy that would result in a child born with a congenital disorder that would be fatal or associated with significantmorbidity;[6] or

selectively reduce the number of fetuses to lessen health risks associated with multiple pregnancy.[6]

An abortion is referred to as elective when it is performed at the request of the woman "for reasons other than maternal health or fetal disease."[7]

Spontaneous Main article: Miscarriage Spontaneous abortion (also known as miscarriage) is the expulsion of an embryo or fetus due to accidental trauma or natural causes before approximately the 22nd week of gestation; the definition by gestational age varies by country.[8] Most miscarriages are due to incorrect replication of chromosomes; they can also be caused by environmental factors. A pregnancy that ends before 37 weeks of gestation resulting in a live-born infant is known as a "premature birth". When a fetus dies in utero after about 22 weeks, or during delivery, it is usually termed "stillborn". Premature births and stillbirths are generally not considered to be miscarriages although usage of these terms can sometimes overlap. Between 10% and 50% of pregnancies end in clinically apparent miscarriage, depending upon the age and health of the pregnant woman.[9] Most miscarriages occur very early in pregnancy, in most cases, they occur so early in the pregnancy that the woman is not even aware that she was pregnant. One study testing hormones for ovulation and pregnancy found that 61.9% of conceptuses were lost prior to 12 weeks, and 91.7% of these losses occurred subclinically, without the knowledge of the once pregnant woman.[10] The risk of spontaneous abortion decreases sharply after the 10th week from the last menstrual period (LMP).[9][11] One study of 232 pregnant women showed "virtually complete [pregnancy loss] by the end of the embryonic period" (10 weeks LMP) with a pregnancy loss rate of only 2 percent after 8.5 weeks LMP.[12]

intentional trauma or stress to cause miscarriage is considered induced abortion or feticide. [13] Advancing maternal age and a patient history of previous spontaneous abortions are the two leading factors associated with a greater risk of spontaneous abortion. As of 2005..[15] Methods Gestational age may determine which abortion methods are practiced. other hormonal problems.The most common cause of spontaneous abortion during the first trimester is chromosomal abnormalities of the embryo/fetus. [14] A spontaneous abortion can also be caused by accidental trauma. medical abortions constitute 13% of all abortions in the United States. Medical Main article: Medical abortion "Medical abortions" are non-surgical abortions that use pharmaceutical drugs. gemeprost is used in the UK and Sweden.S. infection. and abnormalities of the uterus.[16] Combined regimens include methotrexate or mifepristone. followed by aprostaglandin (either misoprostol or gemeprost: misoprostol is used in the U. approximately 92% of women undergoing medical abortion with a combined regimen .[14] Other causes include vascular disease (such as lupus).) When used within 49 days gestation. diabetes.[13] accounting for at least 50% of sampled early pregnancy losses.

MVA. vacuum or manual aspiration is used to complete the abortion surgically. In cases of failure of medical abortion. how early in pregnancy they can be used. placenta and membranes by suction using a manual syringe. while electric vacuum aspiration (EVA) abortion uses an electric pump.completed it without surgical intervention. and differ in the mechanism used to apply suction. but has a lower efficacy rate than combined regimens. also . and whether cervical dilation is necessary. [18] Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) abortion consists of removing the fetus or embryo. These techniques are comparable.[17] Misoprostol can be used alone. Surgical A vacuum aspiration abortion at eight weeks gestational age (six weeks after fertilization). 1: Amniotic 2: Embryo 3: Uterine 4: Speculum 5: Vacurette 6: Attached to a suction pump In the first 12 weeks. suction-aspiration or vacuum abortion is the most common method.

and does not require cervical dilation. can be used in very early pregnancy. IDX is sometimes called "partial-birth abortion. Ahysterotomy abortion is a procedure similar to a caesarean section and is performed under general anesthesia. this can be coupled with injecting the amniotic fluid with hypertonic solutions containing saline or urea.[21] ." which has been federally banned in the United States. including examination of the uterine lining for possible malignancy.Curettage refers to cleaning the walls of the uterus with a curette. After the 16th week of gestation.known as "mini-suction" and "menstrual extraction". The World Health Organization recommends this procedure. the second most common method of surgical abortion. It requires a smaller incision than a caesarean section and is used during later stages of pregnancy. which requires surgical decompression of the fetus's head before evacuation. Premature delivery can be induced with prostaglandin.[19] Other techniques must be used to induce abortion in the second trimester. and abortion. Dilation and curettage (D&C). dilation and evacuation (D&E) is used. D&E consists of opening thecervix of the uterus and emptying it using surgical instruments and suction. also calledsharp curettage. abortions can be induced by intact dilation and extraction (IDX) (also called intrauterine cranial decompression). is a standard gynecological procedure performed for a variety of reasons. From the 15th week until approximately the 26th. only when MVA is unavailable.[20] The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has recommended that an injection be used to stop the fetal heart during the first phase of the surgical abortion procedure to ensure that the fetus is not born alive. Surgical techniques are sometimes referred to as 'Suction (or surgical) Termination Of Pregnancy' (STOP). investigation of abnormal bleeding.

[25] Both accidental and deliberate abortions of this kind can be subject to criminal liability in many countries.[26] One of the bas reliefs decorating the temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia depicts a demon performing such an abortion upon a woman who has been sent to the underworld.[24] Abortion is sometimes attempted by causing trauma to the abdomen. a number of herbs reputed to possess abortifacient properties have been used in folk medicine: tansy. and insertion of non-surgical implements such as knitting needles and clothes hangers into the . Cambodia. if severe. black cohosh.Other methods Bas-relief at Angkor Wat.[26] Reported methods of unsafe. pennyroyal. such as multiple organ failure.[22] Historically. depicting a demon inducing an abortion by pounding the abdomen of a pregnant woman with a pestle. there is an ancient tradition of attempting abortion through forceful abdominal massage. and is not recommended by physicians.[23] The use of herbs in such a manner can cause serious—even lethal—side effects. In Southeast Asia. The degree of force. self-induced abortion include misuse of misoprostol. can cause serious internal injuries without necessarily succeeding in inducing miscarriage. 1150. and the now- extinct silphium (see history of abortion). c.

uterus. mortality from childbirth in developed countries was 11 times greater.000 women per year worldwide).[30][34][35][36][37][38] Unsafe abortions (defined by the World Health Organization as those performed by unskilled individuals. risk of maternal death is between 0. general incidence of major complications for surgical abortion varies from lower for suction curettage. [43] Concerning gestational age. misdiagnosed/unrecognized ectopic infection. the mortality rate has been estimated at 367 per 100.[41] Surgical abortion is generally safe and the rate of major complications is low [42] but varies depending on how far pregnancy has progressed and the surgical method used.000 (70. carry a small potential for serious complications.[44] and specific procedures like dilation and evacuation may be required.000 procedures.2 per 100.2–1. when legally performed in developed countries.[2][40] Physical health Surgical abortion methods. These methods are rarely seen in developed countries where surgical abortion is legal and available Abortion. incidence of major complications is highest after 20 weeks of gestation and lowest before the 8th week. uterine or pelvic ongoing intrauterine pregnancy. is among the safest procedures in medicine.[30][31][32][33] In comparison.[45] Concerning the methods used. . or in unsanitary facilities) carry a high risk of maternal death and other complications. like most minimally invasive procedures. incomplete abortion.[43] With more advanced gestation there is a higher risk of uterine perforation and retained products of conception.[28][29] In such settings. with hazardous equipment. [43] Possible complications include hemorrhage. to higher for saline instillation. by 1996.[39] For unsafe procedures.

the World Health Organization has concluded from large cohort studies that there is "no consistent effect of first trimester induced abortion upon a woman's risk of breast cancer later in life". lack of social support.[29] In the first trimester. and conservative views on abortion increase the likelihood of . or miscarriage. [48] Abortion does not impair subsequent pregnancies. However there are groups of women who may be at higher risk of coping with problems and distress following abortion. pre-existing psychiatric illness. health risks associated with medical abortion are generally considered no greater than for surgical abortion.[49] Although some epidemiological studies suggest an abortion – breast cancer association.ectopic pregnancy.[56] Some factors in a woman's life. [46] Use of general anesthesia increases the risk of complications because it relaxes uterine musculature making it easier to perforate. leiomyomas or had previous difficult first-trimester abortion are contraindicated to undertake surgical abortion unless ultrasonography is immediately available and the surgeon is experienced in its intraoperative use. infertility.pregnancy.[52] the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. uterine perforation and cervical laceration.[54][55] Mental health Main article: Abortion and mental health No scientific research has demonstrated that abortion is a cause of poor mental health in the general population. nor does it increase the risk of future premature births.[50][51] The National Cancer Institute.[47] Women who have uterine anomalies. hematometra (in the uterus). such as emotional attachment to the pregnancy.[53] and other major medical bodies have concluded that abortion does not cause breast cancer.

" However.[58] Some proposed negative psychological effects of abortion have been referred to by prolife advocates as a separate condition called "post-abortion syndrome.experiencing negative feelings after an abortion.[57] The American Psychological Association (APA) concluded that abortion does not lead to increased mental health problems. the existence of "post-abortion syndrome" is not recognized by any medical or psychological organization INSTANCES OF ABORTION There are two commonly used methods of measuring incidence of abortion: .

2 out of 100 known pregnancies) and the Netherlands (10. Romania (63 out of 100) and Vietnam (43. including almost 15 million fewer unsafe abortions.6 out of 100). assuming no change in abortion laws. which means a decrease in abortion rate from 35 to 29 per 1000 women. Some countries. such as Belgium (11.number of abortions out of 100 known pregnancies (excluding miscarriages and stillbirths) The number of abortions performed worldwide has decreased between 1995 and 2003 from 45.[2] On average.[65] The incidence of induced abortion varies regionally.6 million to 41. providing that access to contraceptives would result in about 25 million fewer abortions annually.6 million.[64] According to the Guttmacher Institute and the United Nations Population Fund.Abortion rate . had a comparatively low ratio of induced abortion. the frequency of abortions is similar in developing countries (where abortion is generally restricted) to the frequency in developed countries (where abortion is generally much less restricted).[63] and pro-life groups have criticized researchers for allegedly jumping to conclusions about those numbers.number of abortions per 1000 women between 15 and 44 years of age Abortion ratio .7 out of 100) had a high ratio (data for last .[3][62] Abortion rates are very difficult to measure in locations where those abortions are illegal. the abortion rate in developing countries is largely attributable to lack of access to modern contraceptives. which had a decrease from 34 to 29 per 1000 women. The greatest decrease has occurred in the developed world with a drop from 39 to 26 per 1000 women in comparison to the developing world.6 per 100). Out of a total of about 42 million abortions 22 million occurred safely and 20 million unsafely. Others like Russia (62.

7. In 2003.5 weeks. and 1.7% by "medical" means (mifepristone). during 2000.three countries of unknown completeness). from data collected in those areas of the United States that sufficiently reported gestational age.[68] Similarly.9% of these were classified as having been done by "curettage" (suction-aspiration. and 1. (Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) (right) Abortion rates also vary depending on the stage of pregnancy and the method practiced. Average is 9.4% from 13 to 20 weeks.4% by "intrauterine instillation" (saline or prostaglandin). 90.35 per 1000 women. and 1. (left) Abortion in the United States by gestational age. this accounts for 0. 89% of terminations occurred at or under 12 weeks. in England and Wales in 2006.[66] By gestational age and method Histogram of abortions by gestational age in England and Wales during 2004. 2004. 9% between 13 to 19 weeks.0% by "other" (including hysterotomy and hysterectomy). The estimated world ratio was 26%.S. the world rate .5% at or over 20 weeks.2% of abortions were conducted at or prior to 12 weeks.[67] The Guttmacher Institute estimated there were 2. it was found that 88.4% at or after 21 weeks. 64% of those reported were by . Dilation and evacuation). 10.200 intact dilation and extraction procedures in the U. Dilation and curettage. 0.17% of the total number of abortions performed that year.

in Bangladesh. and Kenya health concerns were cited by women more frequently as reasons for having an abortion. concern over the interruption of work or education. [69] Later abortions are more common in China.[73] The Guttmacher Institute estimated that "most abortions in the United States . on the reasons women seek to terminate their pregnancies concluded that common factors cited to have influenced the abortion decision were: desire to delay or end childbearing.S.[72] In Finland and the United States. Inconsistent use was reported by 49% of those using condoms and 76% of those using the combined oral contraceptive pill. issues of financial or relationship stability.[70] By personal and social factors A bar chart depicting selected data from the 1998 AGI meta-study on the reasons women stated for having an abortion.[72] Another American study in 2002 concluded that 54% of women who had an abortion were using a form of contraception at the time of becoming pregnant while 46% were not. India. and perceived immaturity. 1% of women having abortions became pregnant as a result of rape and 0. study. [71] A 2004 study in which American women at clinics answered a questionnaire yielded similar results. 6% by D&E. from 27 countries.5% as a result of incest. A 1998 aggregated study. and other developing countries than in developed countries.vacuum aspiration. and 30% were medical. concern for the health risks posed by pregnancy in individual cases was not a factor commonly given. 42% of those using condoms reported failure through slipping or breakage. India. however.[71] In the 2004 survey-based U.

preference for children of a specific sex.. or efforts toward population control (such as China's one-child policy).. disapproval of single motherhood. About one in eight pregnancyrelated deaths worldwide are associated with unsafe abortion. insufficient economic support for families."[74] Some abortions are undergone as the result of societal pressures.[75] The World Health Organization (WHO) defines an unsafe abortion as being "a procedure . particularly when access to legal abortion is restricted. Title translation: "Abortions performed by either trained or self-taught midwives not only maim the woman. These factors can sometimes result in compulsory abortion or sex-selective abortion. lack of access to or rejection of contraceptive methods. carried out by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that .are obtained by minority women" because minority women "have much higher rates of unintended pregnancy." Main article: Unsafe abortion Women seeking to terminate their pregnancies sometimes resort to unsafe methods. warning against midwives performing abortions. Unsafe abortion Soviet poster circa 1925. they also often lead to death. These might include the stigmatization of disabled people.

such as incomplete abortion.[81] Sex-selective Main article: Sex-selective abortion . and damage to internal organs. unsafe abortions result in 70.000 deaths and 5 million disabilities per year. unsafe procedures still accounted for 48% of all abortions performed in 2003."[76] They may be performed by the woman herself. [77] Health education.[79] Forty percent of the world's women are able to access therapeutic and elective abortions within gestational limits.[2][77][78] In addition. access to family planning. [2] Complications of unsafe abortion are said to account for approximately 12% of maternal mortalities in Asia. hemorrhage.does not conform to minimal medical standards. or by a healthcare professional operating in sub-standard conditions. Restrictive abortion laws are associated with a high rate of unsafe abortions.6 million in 2003. It has been estimated that the incidence of unsafe abortion could be reduced by as much as 73% without any change in abortion laws if modern family planning and maternal health services were readily available globally. [80] Although the global rate of abortion declined from 45. and 13% in sub-Saharan Africa. or both. a lack of access to safe and effective contraception contributes to unsafe abortion. The legality of abortion is one of the main determinants of its safety. and improvements in health care during and after abortion have been proposed to address this phenomenon. 25% in Latin America. by another person without medical training.[3] While maternal mortalityseldom results from safe abortions. sepsis. Unsafe abortion remains a public health concern due to the higher incidence and severity of its associated complications.6 million in 1995 to 41.

Sonography and amniocentesis allow parents to determine sex before childbirth. the economic role of men. save 50.[121] Sexselective abortion might be an influence on the shift from the baseline male-to-female birth rate to an elevated national rate of 117:100 reported in 2002. led to advertisements for services which read. the male-to-female sex ratio in India was skewed from its biological norm of 105 to 100.[116] The widespread availability of diagnostic testing.[115] In India. during the 1970s and '80s.[120] In the People's Republic of China.[119] The Indian government passed an official ban of pre-natal sex screening in 1994 and moved to pass a complete ban of sex-selective abortion in 2002. and a common Indian tradition which dictates that funeral rites must be performed by a male relative have led to a cultural preference for sons. The trend was more . and abortion used to limit female births has been reported in China. The preference for male children is reported in many areas of Asia. It is suggested that sex-selective abortion might be partially responsible for the noticeable disparities between the birth rates of male and female children in some places. the costs associated with dowries. The implementation of the one-child policy in 1979. led to an increased disparity in the sex ratio as parents attempted to circumvent the law through sex-selective abortion or the abandonment of unwanted daughters. or the targeted termination of female fetuses. "Invest 500 rupees [for a sex test] now. South Korea. Taiwan. and India. there is also a historic son preference." [117] In 1991. to an average of 108 to 100. The development of this technology has led to sex-selective abortion.000 rupees [for a dowry] later. in response to population concerns.[118]Researchers have asserted that between 1985 and 2005 as many as 10 million female fetuses may have been selectively aborted.

kidnapping. arson. Barnett Slepian. have been killed in the United States and Australia. [122] A ban upon the practice of sex-selective abortion was enacted in 2003. Shelley Shannon. stalking.pronounced in rural regions: as high as 130:100 in Guangdong and 135:100 in Hainan. including murder. and incidents of vandalism against abortion providers have also occurred. acid attacks. Attempted assassinations have also taken place in the United States and Canada. attempted murder. including receptionists and security guards. four abortion providers—Drs. David Gunn. the first person to be executed in the United States for murdering an abortion provider.[126][127] Notable perpetrators of anti-abortion violence include Eric Robert Rudolph. often rationalizing their actions as justifiable homicide or defense of others. Scott Roeder.[124][125] Only a small fraction of those opposed to abortion commit violence.[123] Anti-abortion violence Main article: Anti-abortion violence Doctors and facilities that provide abortion have been subjected to various forms of violence. Hundreds of bombings. arsons. invasions. and other personnel at abortion clinics. and George Tiller—have been assassinated. and bombing. assault.[128] . and Paul Jennings Hill. In the United States. committed in order to protect the lives of fetuses. John Britton. Anti-abortion violence has been classified by governmental and scholarly sources as terrorism.

LEGAL STATUS As per India’s abortion laws only qualified doctors. under stipulated conditions. The MTP Act came into effect from April 1. 1972 and was once amended in 1975. The Indian abortion laws fall under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. which was enacted by the Indian Parliament in the year 1971. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act . can perform abortion on a woman in an approved clinic or hospital.

including ultrasound scanning.000 women die every year due to abortion related complications.[3] In the following table Number of abortions reported includes legal reported induced abortions. In 2002.of India clearly states the conditions under which a pregnancy can be ended or aborted. According to the Consortium on National Consensus for Medical Abortion in India.000 for the second. solely to determine the sex of the fetus was criminalized by Indian law in 1994.[1] Sex-selective abortion Giving or taking prenatal tests. [2] Most abortionrelated maternal deaths are attributable to illegal abortions. every year an average of about 11 million abortions take place annually and around 20. the penalties were stiffened: up to three years in jail and a Rs.000 fine for the first offense and five years imprisonment and Rs. 50.[4] Year Number of abortions 24300 214197 388405 583704 581215 570914 723142 reported Indications for early medical abortion General condition to be fulfilled All women coming to a health facility seeking termination of pregnancy up to 7 weeks period of gestation (49 days from the first day of the last menstrual period in women with regular cycle of 28 days) provided the following aspects have been assessed and found appropriate:[5]  1972 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 frame of the mind of patient and her acceptability of minimum three follow-up visits  ready for surgical procedure if failure or excessive bleeding occurs . the persons who are qualified to conduct the abortion and the place of implementation. 10.

Choice between Medical and Surgical Abortion  Vacuum Aspiration (Suction evacuation) is the most commonly-used method for termination of early pregnancies. Home administration of misoprostol may be advised at discretion in certain cases with an access to 24-hours emergency services. prescription and administration could be in a clinic or in the consulting room. This may include primary health care-clinic or hospital-based set-up. route of administration and gestational age. it is associated with risks of infection. Surgical abortion is preferred if patient desires concurrent tubal ligation. However. may be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner as prescribed under section 2 (d) and rule 3. perforation of uterus. being a surgical technique.   family support permission of guardian in case of minor as per MTP Act 1971 easy access to appropriate health care facility Only registered medical practitioners as prescribed by the MTP Act are authorized to prescribe mifepristone with misoprostol for medical abortion (Definition 2(d) of section 2 and MTP rule 3). having access to a place approved by the Government under section 4 (b) and rule (1). counseling. .  The success of abortion with drugs depends on multiple factors including the regimen used.dosage schedule. Mifepristone with misoprostol for termination of early pregnancy not exceeding seven weeks. incomplete abortion and post-procedure uterine synechiae formation (Asherman's Syndrome). for surgical and emergency back-up when such a back-up is indicated. Initial workup.   Mifepristone with misoprostol is favourable if pregnancy is = 7 weeks.

final choice to be given to the woman. 'it is legalized in India. If a woman fulfills the criteria for selecting either method. the Indian MTP act lays a clear guideline under which medical abortion is contraindicated. valvular disease. Psycho-social situations These include the cases in which . arrhythmia severe renal. Contraindications due to Medical Reasons             smoking > 35 years anemia – hemoglobin < 8 gm % suspected /confirmed ectopic pregnancy / undiagnosed adnexal mass coagulopathy or women on anticoagulant therapy chronic adrenal failure or current use of systemic corticosteroids uncontrolled hypertension with BP >160/100mmHg cardio-vascular diseases such as angina. Contraindications for medical abortion For cases in which a pregnant woman has a serious medical disease and continuation of pregnancy could endanger her life. liver or respiratory diseases glaucoma uncontrolled seizure disorder allergy or intolerance to mifepristone / misoprostol or other prostaglandins lack of access to 24-hours emergency services.

under stipulated conditions.    women unable to take responsibility anxious women wanting quick abortion language or comprehension barrier not willing for surgical abortion in case of failure THE TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY ACT The Indian Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act In order to prevent the misuse of induced abortions. most countries in the world have created strict abortion laws and so has India. As per India’s abortion laws only qualified doctors. can execute an act of abortion on a woman in a clinic or a hospital that has been approved of doing so. The Indian abortion laws fall .

the persons who are qualified to conduct the abortion and the place of implementation. for conducting an abortion as interpreted from the Indian MTP Act are: 1.(a) where the length of the pregnancy does not exceed twelve weeks if such medical practitioner is Of opinion. however. came into effect from 01 April. 1972 and was once amended in 1975. .i) the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health . Failure of contraceptive device used by a couple. that.her own written consent. when the pregnancy exceeds 12 weeks but is below 20 weeks. which was enacted by the Indian Parliament in the year 1971. Consent of the following kinds is required before a legal abortion by an approved practitioner can be conducted on a pregnant female: • • If married--. A pregnancy occurring as a result of rape 3. Grounds for Abortion as per the Indian MTP Act The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of India clearly mentions the conditions under which only a pregnancy can be ended or the foetus aborted. or (ii) there is a substantial risk that if the child were born. 2.under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. If unmarried and above 18years ---her own written consent. A pregnancy may be terminated by a registered medical practitioner. The grounds. it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped However. the consultation of two registered medical practitioners is required. The MTP Act. formed in good faith. Husband’s consent not needed. thus.

A house surgeon who has undergone six months post in Obstetrics and Gynecology. • • A person who has a diploma /degree in Obstetrics and Gynecology. If mentally unstable --. • A year of practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology for the doctors registered on or after the date of commencement of the Act.• • If below 18 years ---written consent of her guardian. Three years of practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology for those doctors registered before the 1971 MTP Act was passed.1 Equal protection means the right to equal treatment in similar . Physicians approved for conducting MTP are: • • A qualified registered medical practitioner who has helped in 25 MTPs.written consent of her guardian. IS THE INDIAN LAW ON MEDICAL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY CONSTITUTIONALLY VALID Article 14: The concept of equality and equal protection of laws guaranteed by article 14 in its proper spectrum encompasses social and economic justice in a political democracy.

e. Differential treatment does not per se constitute violation of Art. 14.5 Every classification is in some degree likely to produce some inequality. as the varying needs of different classes of persons often require separate treatment. causal connection between the basis of classification and object of the statute under consideration9. It would be inexpedient and incorrect to think that all laws have to be made uniformly applicable to all people in one go. and 2.. 1.6 Article 14 prohibits class legislation but not reasonable classification for the purpose of legislation.circumstances. viz.8 The classification may be founded on differential basis according to objects sought to be achieved but what is implicit in it is that there ought to be a nexus i. That the classification must be founded on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from those that are left out of the group. However. two conditions must be fulfilled. It denies equal protection only when there is no reasonable basis for the differentiation. to pass the test of permissible classification.3 The principle enshrined in Article 14 does not take away from the state the power of classifying persons for legitimate purposes. however.7 In order. That the differentia must have a rational relation to the objects sought to be achieved by the statute in question. attainment or circumstances in the same position. the principle of equality does not mean that every law must have universal application for all persons who are not by nature.4 The legislature is competent to exercise its discretion and make classification. .2 both in the privileges conferred and in the liabilities imposed.

13 The question of arbitrariness arises only when the question of .10 In Paton v. unless shown manifestly arbitrary or wholly unreasonable cannot be held violative of Art.In the case of pregnancy. This qualifies as a reasonable exception to Art. A government policy or statute. The presumption that the classification is reasonable is always in favour of the constitutionality of an enactment. Therefore. 14 and hence.12 An Act of legislature cannot be struck down merely by saying it is arbitrary. to stop his wife having. or a registered medical practitioner performing a legal abortion. His prayer for injunction was denied. the classification is between the two genders. there is a causal connection between the basis of classification and the object of the statute and the classification enunciated in the Act regarding the decision making power lying in the hands of the woman is entirely reasonable and justifiable. is not in violation of it. Arbitrariness: The question of arbitrariness flows out of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. 14. since it must be assumed that the Legislature understands and correctly appreciates the needs of its own people. The father has no say in this decision as he is a silent spectator to the process and there are no adverse effects on his body due to the pregnancy. The decision making power lies in the woman as she is undergoing the nine-month process of pregnancy and it is her body has to bear the brunt of the pregnancy. Trustees of BPAS and Anr. that its laws are directed to problems made manifest by experience and its discrimination are based on adequate grounds. As a result.11 the Queen’s Bench Division held that the husband of the pregnant woman had no right.. Thus. enforceable at law or in equity. the entire decision making power must obviously lie with the mother. a husband has no right to interfere if his wife wishes to undergo medical termination of pregnancy.

16 But this law should not be arbitrary. 1.17 It must be mentioned that the MTP Act has not been enacted to legalise abortions.14 It has been proved that the MTP Act does not violate Article 14. Therefore. Now. life. Instead. unfair or unreasonable.When there is danger to the life or risk to physical or mental health of the woman.equality before law without reasonable classification has been violated.to be born. 21 means the procedure prescribed by the State-made or enacted law. the Act aims at termination of pregnancy in the interest of the woman or the to-be-born child. sometimes. The proposed measure which seeks to liberalize certain existing provisions relating to termination of pregnancy has been conceived..15 Procedure established by law under Art. .Such as when pregnancy arises from a sex crime like rape or intercourse with a lunatic woman. the procedure established by law must be strictly followed and must not be departed from to the disadvantage of the person affected. strength and.18 It would appear that the dominant object to achieve for which the law has been enacted is to save the life of the pregnant woman or to relieve her of any injury toward physical and mental health or prevent the possible deformities in the child . On humanitarian grounds . Article 21: Article 21 of the Constitution of India enshrines the protection of life and personal liberty. before a person is deprived of his life or personal liberty. As a health measure . etc. it is not arbitrary in nature. 2. There is thus avoidable wastage of the mother's health.

3.19 The right to privacy is an essential component of the right to life but is not absolute and may be restricted for prevention of crime. Furthermore.20 This . Similarly Section 315 of the Indian Penal Code protects any act done with intent to prevent child from being born alive or causing it to die after its birth “if such act has been done in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the mother”. the termination of pregnancy is not something which is provided for the first time by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. It was provided for by the British in their enactment of the Indian Penal Code in 1860. The object of the Act being to save the life of the pregnant woman or relieve her of any injury to her physical and mental health. disorder or protection of health or morals or protection of the rights and freedom of others. Right to Privacy: The right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and liberty guaranteed to the citizens of this country by Article 21. 21. if born. Eugenic grounds . Therefore. While it may be debatable as to when the foetus comes to life so as to attract Article 21 of the Constitution of India. it would be in her interest to terminate the pregnancy. would suffer from deformities and diseases. it would appear the Act is rather in consonance with Article 21 of the Constitution of India than in conflict with it. if it is done “in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman”.Where there is substantial risk that the child. and no other thing. Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code too protects termination of pregnancy described as miscarriage. there cannot be two opinions regarding the fact that where continuance of pregnancy is likely to involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman or cause grave injury to her physical and mental health. the MTP Act is not in violation of Art.

An unborn child can only be termination as per the conditions mentioned in Section 3 of the Act. or.21 which held that was for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the abortion was not performed in good faith for the purpose only a preserving the life of the mother. but it was his duty to perform the operation if. The surgeon was not to wait until the patient was in peril of immediate death. The British Parliament enacted the Abortion Act of 1967. and this statute is in no way interfering with the woman’s right to privacy. on reasonable grounds and with adequate knowledge. he was of opinion that the probable consequence of the continuance of the pregnancy would be to make the patient a physical and mental wrack. It reads thus: “No offence is committed under the law relating to abortion when a pregnancy is . but it provided lesser penalties for the felony of abortion before quickening. The Act also provided that in making this determination.qualifies as a reasonable restriction to the woman’s right to privacy as this entails the life of an unborn child. The Halsbury’s Laws of England22 deals with Medical Termination of Pregnancy. A notable development was made in the case of Rex (SIC) Bourne. International Law: England’s first criminal abortion statute. account may be taken of the pregnant woman's actual or reasonably foreseeable environment. (b) there is a substantial risk that if the child was born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped. greater than if the pregnancy was terminated. which provided (a) that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of injury to her physical or mental health or of any existing children of her family. Lord Ellenborough’s Act was passed in 1803. It made abortion of a quick foetus a capital crime.

Wade23 that the right of privacy of a woman is protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and that right enabled her to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. formed in good faith. the MTP Act. Dattar. is valid. Section 3 of the Act is derived from the aforementioned international law and thus. . Y v. the Courts are not empowered to legislate upon a statute. i. that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman. X and Mrs. Neither the husband nor the State had any right to interfere with her decision. or of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family greater than if the pregnancy were terminated.. it was held in the case of Dr. Furthermore. Therefore. Mr. or that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer tram such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.Union of India and State of Maharashtra24 that “Under the guise of reading down a provision of law. Nikhil D.e. the Indian law on the matter.terminated by a registered medical practitioner if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion.” CASE LAW A 13-year-old girl has approached Gujarat High Court seeking permission for abortion after she got pregnant allegedly due to repeated rape by her employer. Gynaecologist. economic or cultural rights. is not in breach of social.” The United States Supreme Court held in Roe v. 1971.

The family then approached the High Court and the counsel argued that provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. The doctor asked them to obtain permission from the court as they had registered a case with police. Justice Anant S Dave after listening to the arguments from girl's advocate Hriday Buch. on the ground that bearing the unwanted pregnancy of the child of three months made her to become mentally ill and the . they approached a doctor to get the pregnancy terminated. It was after the victim's family members discovered her pregnancy. The family approached the local court in Surendranagar. 1971 would not hamper the process in this case.The petition before the court states that the minor girl will have to suffer extreme mental agony to give birth to a child resulting out of rape at this tender age. Later. The victim girl belongs to a poor family in Dhrangadhra of Surendranagar district. that they approached police and lodged an FIR against the neighbour. is of an unmarried girl of 18 years who is praying for issue of a direction to terminate the pregnancy of the child in her womb. but the judge denied permission to terminate pregnancy on the grounds that the girl looked healthy and pregnancy was not likely to cause physical harm to her. issued notice yesterday to the investigating officer asking him to remain present before the court on April 28 with probe papers. who is twomonth pregnant now. D Rajeshwari Vs State of Tamil Nadu 1996 CrilJ 3795 The case. The girl used to work at her neighbour Ghanshyamsinh Rajput's house as domestic help. Rajput allegedly continued to have physical relations forcibly with the minor.

She approached the petitioner for an abortion. since the pregnancy was caused by rape. And the petitioner agreed to it for a consideration. which would result in a grave injury to her mental health. So the charge on them is firstly causing miscarriage without consent of girl. . Nisha Malviya and Anr.P. 2000. a woman wanted to have abortion on the ground that she has a 6 months old daughter.P. But somehow the condition of the woman worsened in the hospital and she was shifted to another hospital. After the complainant conceived pregnancy. The Court held all the three accused guilty of termination of pregnancy which was not consented by the mother or the girl. But it resulted in her death. Applicants are younger brothers of said Navneet while Bhagwan Katariya was the father of said Navneet. The allegations are that two other co-accused took this girl. took her for abortion and without her consent got the abortion done. Dr. The petitioner who was a registered medical practitioner had to establish that his action was done in good faith ( includes omission as well ) so that he can get exemption from any criminal liability under section 3 of the MTP Act. the husband and the other family members took an exception to it. State of M. Murari Mohan Koley Vs.continuance of pregnancy has caused great anguish in her mind. 1971. The abortion was not done. Shri Bhagwan Katariya and others Vs. State of M. 2003 In this case. The Court granted the permission to terminate the pregnancy. The woman was married to Navneet. Vs. and they terminated her pregnancy. The State and Anr. 2000CriLJ671 The accused had committed rape on minor girl aged about 12 years and made her pregnant.

And the Doctor will be liable. the courts have recognized that a foetus is a person in the eyes of law and as such it enjoys all the privileges and rights enjoyed by a human being. RIGHT OF MOTHER VS. Similarly. Thus. The Judiciary has been playing a vital role in securing these rights to women. the case laws show that a woman has an absolute right to abortion and no one can take away this right from her. On the other hand. One such right is the right to privacy. i. Right to abortion is a fundamental right of privacy. both these rights come in conflict and it . The conflict juxtaposed in this paper. In court-ordered caesarean sections. Present is a case where a permanent scar has been carved on the heart and soul of the woman by depriving her of her child. The Constitution of India provides for right to life and liberty under Article 21 and this concept of ‘liberty’ subsumes within itself certain unenumerated rights. an individual has an absolute control over his body and no one can interfere with his bodily integrity except with his permission. RIGHT OF FOETUS IN MEDICO-LEGAL PERSPECTIVE Whatever be the consequences for herself or the foetus she carries.e. foetus also possesses a valid.The Court opined that if we refer Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. a doctor is entitled to terminate the pregnancy under particular circumstances and if the pregnancy was terminated in accordance with the provisions of law. is that a woman carrying a foetus in her womb has a legal and well-recognized right to privacy not to allow any sort of interference with her body. which are essential to human dignity. it must be presumed that without the consent of the woman it could not be done. justified and legally recognized right to life. 1971.

Courts do not compel one person to permit a significant intrusion upon his or her bodily integrity. The same logic also applies to a pregnant woman who fears some traumatic bereavement post operation. Thus. Argument of Bodily Integrity and Privacy Every person has the right under common law and the Constitution to refuse medical treatment. a court must determine the patient’s wishes by any means available and must abide by those wishes unless there are truly extraordinary or compelling reasons to override them. it would change every concept and principle upon which the society is founded. Infact. In India. wherein Douglas.. Connecticut .is left to the wisdom of courts to decide. the Supreme Court has now for long upheld the right to privacy of an individual. This right is based simply on the fact that if the law compels a person to submit to an intrusion of his body. This concept of personhood embodied in the right to privacy can be used to affirm the role of will and creativity in a woman’s construction of her own identity. observed that: . To do so would defeat the sanctity of the individual and would impose a rule which would know no limits. to which right they should give preference. In United States also. La Fleur and in Griswold v. it becomes the duty of the State to protect such right of the individual because he himself cannot claim that protection. To protect that right against intrusion. J. Such a right of privacy stresses the value of personhood and it protects against the totalitarian abuse of government power. this right has been recognized in Cleveland Board of Education v. this paper provides a feasible guideline or solution while balancing the two conflicting rights. This right of bodily integrity belongs equally to persons who are competent and to persons who are not. in cases of incompetency.

South Carolina . when the foetus has become viable. which exists when a woman has carried an unborn child to viability. and when the unborn child reaches this stage the child becomes a party whose interest must be considered.C. . Wade that State’s interest in potential human life becomes compelling at a point of viability. we can safely conclude that right to refuse medical treatment is within right to privacy. Right per se of the Foetus In A. And therefore state’s interest in protecting the life and health of the viable foetus is not merely legitimate but compelling. After the perusal of the above-mentioned cases. It had also been acknowledged earlier in Roe v. Re . certain legal rights and privileges and exclusion of viable foetus from status of person would be an “unsound. illogical and unjust”. it was held by the court that the state has an important and legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of human life. In addition to the rights explicitly protected by constitution. there are implicit constitutional rights.1. It was unanimously held that a foetus having reached that period of prenatal maturity where it is capable of independent life apart from its mother is a person. This is a situation. 2. well recognized as a fundamental right by the constitution. Woodward and more recently in Whitner v. A similar approach has been adopted by the courts in Fowler v. In all these cases it was opined that ‘viable foetuses’ are ‘persons’ in the eyes of law. Thus. it would be safe to conclude that a foetus has the legal status of a fully born person in the eyes of law. One of those implicit rights is the right to privacy.

The expectant mother has placed herself in a special class of persons who are bringing another person into existence. Thus when a person who has undertaken such a great responsibility. love their children. atleast in the present scenario in India. refuses and rejects the medical prognosis. her . where the woman is pregnant and she cannot have normal vaginal delivery . Competence and consent of the mother It is a general societal tendency to privilege and reify medical opinion. As such. It is because of this psychological thinking prevalent in the society that when a woman rejects the medical advice tendered to her. the possibility that she might be right and her doctors wrong is unlikely to be raised. If the woman consents to the operation. It means that whatever opinion a doctor gives. her sanity. creditability and competence to decide about her own body comes into question and thereby hampering the role of consent of the mother in allowing or disallowing the medical authorities to operate upon her. And if such a right is infringed. she is seen to be jeopardising not only herself but also her unborn child. nurture and protect them . could well enforce it. This is based upon a simple logic that the foetus is a ‘person’ in eyes of law and as such it carries with it all rights vested in a person. the court through ‘courtordered caesarean section’. then in such a case the right to life of the valid and recognized legal person would be infringed. it will be the ‘final word’ for the patients. Thus. contrary to the belief that a ‘woman knows her body better’. as a mother-to-be.In cases. the only option left to the doctors after detailed medical prognosis is the caesarean section. The reasoning applied in such situations is simple. if they are mentally normal. including right to life. there is no problem but if she refuses and her refusal may prove fatal to the foetus. the implicit societal expectations that mothers must.

When we come to the present issue it has to . The point. This competence to consent plays an important part in situations where the court has to decide about ordering the caesarean section and the pregnant woman has refused to allow medical treatment upon her body.C. In A. and if the woman refuses to give consent for the operation. claiming bodily integrity and autonomy. in his dissenting opinion pointed out very aptly that “in those cases in which the viable unborn child’s interest in living and the State’s parallel interest in protecting human life comes into conflict with the mother’s decision to forgo a procedure such as a caesarean section.” The court further pointed out that the ‘balancing test’ of the probabilities should be applied in instances in which woman became pregnant and carry an unborn child to the point of viability. then it is pertinently left to the courts to decide whether to preserve and protect the right to privacy of the mother or to give primacy and protection to the right of life of the foetus. in those medical cases where normal vaginal delivery could not take place and a caesarean section is a must in order to save the life of the unborn child. Right of Mother v. Belson. Re . This conflict has been vexing the minds of the judges for long and they have generally relied upon the medical jurisprudence to ensure minimal harm to both the entities. a balance should be struck in which the unborn child’s and state’s interest are entitled to substantial weight. Judge James A. Right of Foetus: The Conflict As mentioned above. The courts can discredit any such consent before making an order for caesarean section. which I am driving at is that it must have been the perceived needs of the foetus that underlay the impetus to seek court action and the fact that mother’s decision was likely to impinge upon the child she carried.competence to consent definitely comes under close scrutiny.

unless such infringement was necessary to serve some compelling state purpose or interest. then there is no problem. The proper test in such a situation is that the courts must keep in mind the ‘utmost compelling interest’. and the report also suggests incontrovertibly that if the caesarean section is performed no harm would be caused to the foetus or the mother. which they want to preserve. and if it draws some adverse conclusions. While applying this principle to the situation where a woman has refused the medical prognosis report and foetus has become viable. To be compelling. the court has to decide upon her competence to consent. But if the decision of the woman is in the negative. This balancing analysis has to be done keeping in mind many considerations since both the rights are of constitutional magnitude. Here what the courts should aim is that no right is denied unjustifiably.be borne in mind that the balancing act required to be struck by the Courts prerequisites that any one interest has to be sacrificed. Here what matters most for the courts is to consider the informed consent made by the patient about the course of her medical treatment. the court must order the caesarean section because here the . If the woman. As a fundamental liberty the right to privacy could not be legitimately infringed upon by the state. the state interest had to be of the highest importance and even then a law restricting a fundamental liberty had to be necessary in the sense that no alternative less intrusive means of serving the compelling interest is available. then it can justifiably make a substituted judgement. makes such a decision in the affirmative. competent enough. Here it needs to be emphasised that it would be an extraordinary case indeed in which a court might ever be justified in overriding the patient’s wishes and authorizing a major surgical procedure such as a caesarean section.

which under the law is one level away from what we consider a physical person? There is no ‘good samaritan’ requirement under the law that forces a woman to sacrifice her life for that of her foetus”. The argument goes. It is understandable that the courts . Thus if the medical report suggests that both mother and child would be healthy post caesarean.something that morality commends us tootherwise literalist application may exclude the justifiability of the rule itself. Though questions may be raised that right to privacy has been violated. But where the report suggests that the life of the woman may itself be endangered. the balancing analysis tilts in favour of preserving the right to life of mother itself and thereby the right to privacy. then in pith and substance right to privacy is not violated as the mother is restored to same healthy position. as the compelling interest of the state shifts. after balancing. then the court must abstain from ordering a caesarean section. then such violation seems justified. The point to be considered here is that courts have to rely upon the medical opinion tendered upon the viability of the caesarean section. then that should form part of law. Lon Fuller also joins his argument by saying that interpretation of rules purposively would promote good of society. The logic here lies in the fact that in present situation. tilts in favour of preserving the right to life of unborn child. but if we follow Dworkin’s concept of privacy wherein he believes that any rule of legal jurisprudence must be interpreted purposively and not construed as collection of norms. “can you kill a person for the benefit of foetus.compelling state interest. He argues that if a broader privacy principle fits the explicit legal rules but correct moral judgment requires narrow principle.

the courts have been silent on any direct declaration of the right to abortion. State of U. It can also said to be . including the time limit of 20 weeks. Any law forbidding an abortion under good medical conditions is immoral and in addition unconstitutional. Right to abortion is a species of right to privacy. infringe the right to abortion and the right to health. 1971 where all the restrictions imposed therein. as they do not have medical expertise to challenge them. other than the ones to ensure good medical conditions. a) Impugned provisions inhibit the right to abortion which a species of right to life. for it violates her right to control her property . presumed to be based on the ‘notion of the infallibility of the medical opinion’. In India. In most cases caesarean sections have been judicially sanctioned on the basis that operation was the bets available option in the interest of the patient. which is again proclaimed a continuance of the right to life under Article 21. 1971 infringe the right to life of the mother Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code read with the Medical termination of Pregnancy act. liberty and happiness.tend to treat the medical ‘facts’ with which they are presented as in controvertible. This aspect of ‘best interest’ as determined by courts is. and others .her body as wells her life. which emanate from right to life as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.P. here. But. How section 312 of IPC read with the Medical termination of Pregnancy Act. in the case of Kharak Singh Vs. the Supreme Court has certainly recognized that a person has complete rights of control over his body organs and his ‘person’ under Article 21.

Wade. the Supreme Court upheld the right to privacy and ended the ban on birth control back in 1965.including the complete right of a woman over her reproductive organs. This case supported a woman's control over her own body and reproductive system. Eight years later. Danforth . the Supreme Court ruled the right to privacy included abortions in the landmark case of Roe v. in the case of Griswold v. A woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy emanates from her right to make decisions regarding her own body and reproductive capacity. Although there are some restrictions on abortion. William Brennan. married or single. it is the right of the individual. Textual support for this right is found in a number of human rights instruments." Abortion deals with one's private life and should have nothing to do with the government. In 1976. A woman's body is hers and hers alone. Abortion is an issue of women. especially in these states it should be the woman's choice. It is not a requirement for some states to fund for abortions. which contain provisions that ensure autonomy . therefore. In the United States of America. to be free from unwanted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision to bear or beget a child. J. stated: "If the right to privacy means anything. Everyone has their own individual opinion. It is one of the most controversial issues in the world today. She has the free will to consider others views and opinions such as that of the father. Connecticut. it is still ultimately the woman's choice. but it is her ultimate decision which should be guaranteed by the law. due to the states' rights. ruled that requiring consent by the husband and the consent from a parent if a person was under 18 was unconstitutional. and so it should be the woman's right to choose. Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Nobody has the right to make her do something that she does not want to.

The foetus enjoys no independent legal personality . Freedom from interference in one's privacy and family life is protected by Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. An unborn child lacks the status to be the subject of a legal duty. the right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of one's children. particularly one's reproductive capacity. the Final Act of the International Conference on Human Rights stated that: "Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and a right to adequate education and information to do so. Merton and Sutton HA . but also suggests a government duty to facilitate decision-making in matters of family planning. Article 17 of the Civil and Political Rights Covenant. United Kingdom .in decision-making about intimate matters. it was held by the English court that: "The human being does not exist as a legal person until after birth. . ." Another point of moot in the jurisprudence surrounding the right to abortion is that whether the foetus has the right be born and if it can supersede the right to abortion. In de Martell v. The European Commission of Human Rights has propounded in its judgments. If injury is done to an unborn child. If injury is negligently . no duty is broken. decisions one makes about one's body. Such provisions include protections of the right to privacy. The right to determine the number and spacing of one's children relates to the right to privacy. and Article 8(1) of the European Convention. In 1968. Article 11 of the American Convention. and the right to physical integrity. like that in cases of Bruggemann and Scheuten v. lie squarely in the domain of private decisionmaking. Federal Republic of Germany and Paton v.

BPAS where he said. This view has been also accepted in Australia in the cases of Attorney-General (Qld) (Ex el Kerr) v T and In the Marriage of F and F . Assuming arguendo.caused to a newly born babe.In the case of Vo v France. In Canada. and until a child en ventre mere sees the light of the day it does not have the rights of those already born”. various courts have upheld the right of abortion over the right of the . at which full and independent legal rights attach. the child attains the status of a legal persona’. . but not before. In Re F (In Utero) when an attempt was made to make a foetus a ward of the court to guard its health. In C v. is recognized as a person in the full sense only after birth…The law has set birth as the line of demarcation at which personhood is realized. liability in negligence arises . the Court of Appeal held that an unborn child lacks legal personality. In law and logic no damage can have been caused to the plaintiff before the plaintiff existed".This was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Tremblay v Daigle. the European Court of Human Rights held that Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights (which provides for right of everyone to have their life protected) did not confer a right to life that extended to a foetus. the Ontario High Cour held in the case of Dehler v Ottawa Civic Hospital that : “The law does not regard an unborn child as an independent legal entity prior to birth…A foetus. S the court said the claim of a child crystallizes ‘on the birth. “a foetus cannot have any rights of its own at least until it is born and has a separate existence from the mother”. whatever its stage of development. even if it can be said that the foetus has got certain rights. The view also garners support from Sir George Baker’s observation in Paton v. .

The health effects of unsafe abortion were addressed at two recent United Nations conferences. Because unsafe abortion is closely associated with high rates of maternal mortality. Social and Cultural Rights (Economic.” It is widely acknowledged that in countries in which abortion is legally restricted. Where unsafe abortion does not result in death. Thus. Social and Cultural Rights Covenant). it can have devastating effects on women’s health. It is also the fundamental duty of the state to improve public health under Article 47 of the Constitution. . the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) (Cairo. under conditions that are medically unsafe. laws that force women to resort to unsafe procedures infringe upon women’s right to life. 1994) and the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW) (Beijing. 1995).” Article 12(1) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Women’s Convention) further requires governments to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care . which requires states to "recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. b) The impugned provisions are an infringement on the right to Health Right to health has been recognized by the Supreme Court in various cases as being protected under Article 21.foetus to be born. women seek abortions clandestinely. the right to abortion can’t be subrogated to the right of the foetus to be born. In the objects and reasons of the MTPA. the legislature confessed that provisions in the IPC concerning abortion were observed in the breach in a . if at all it can be said to exist.The right to health is recognized in Article 12(1) of the International Covenant on Economic. . .

7 million abortions take place in India but the sad part is that 5. the legislature has not prohibited use of diagnostic techniques to discover foetal disabilities. in . In the Objects and reasons of the MTPA. the legislature has recognized eugenic grounds as one of the grounds of termination of pregnancy. The health services had expanded and hospitals were availed of to the fullest extent by all classes of society. Scientific reports have suggested that some deformities in the foetus can be only detected in the very late stage of pregnancy and thus abortions should be allowed even after the 24th week of pregnancy.7 millions are illegal. Eugenic grounds of abortions have been recognized by various courts and governments. How the said provisions infringe the right of the disabled child to live with dignity ? It is well settled that the constitution provides for the right to live with dignity. Every year 6. the impugned provisions fail to satisfy the same by restricting the time limit to 20 weeks.very large number of cases all over the country. The IPC was enacted more than a century ago and the MTPA. But. The European Court of Human Rights has even granted compensation to the parents if the doctor is negligent in detecting patent deformities in the foetus and the child is born with disabilities and deformities. doctors had often been confronted with gravely ill or dying pregnant women whose pregnant uterus had been tampered with a view to causing an abortion and consequently suffered very severely. But again. Further. This right would be severely hampered if the state obliges the birth of a person for whom his very existence is a bane rather than a boon. the impugned provisions fail to satisfy this very object for which the MTPA was enacted.

Moreover section 4(2) of the said act states that no pre-natal diagnostic techniques can be conducted except for the purposes of detection of any of the 1) chromosomal abnormalities . medical science and technology have come a long way. Moreover as the very object of the pre-natal diagnostic techniques act. as this would absolutely and nonjudiciously defeat the very purpose of legislative efforts such as the pre-natal diagnostic technologies act and the likes of the same. Since then. Hence it is to be given effect to in the same light and not on the analogy that eugenic grounds for abortion as provided by the act to be valid grounds of abortion under section 3 of the act also burn on the same factum of the stipulated time period.1971. 1. and not to ban the very detection of such disabilities and abnormalities of the foetus. as given in the statement of objects and reasons is: “The pre-natal diagnostic techniques like amniocentesis and sonography are useful for the detection of genetic and chromosomal disorders or congenital malformations or sex linked disorders” Hence it is perspicuous that the object of the act is to ban the use of both sex selective abortions and to regulate such techniques with a view to ensure their scientific use for which they are intended. Moreover. as this would defeat the very purpose of this act. what transpires to be the object of the legislature behind the impugned provision setting the time limit for abortion to be that of 20 weeks is to prevent female feticide as this is the time period when and where after the sex of the foetus can be successfully and accurately determined by the pre-natal diagnostic technologies. 1994 also called the prohibition of sex selection act.

by Richard J. *** Subash Chandra Singh. Ananthi Ammal & ors. pg. Klinkner. . 80-87. Taking Sides on Clashing Views of Controversial Bioethical Issues. copyright 1991.S. All India Reporter (Journal). pages: 31. 470 (1965) 410 U. by Carol Levine. V. 56. copyright 1994. The American Heritage History of the Bill of Rights . 345 381 U. Thus the enactment permits such tests if they are necessary to avoid abnormal child from coming into existence. Volume 3. 52 (1976) Government in America. "Right to Abortion : A New Agenda". 113 428 U. The MTPA as well as the PNDTA are central acts and if by one statute certain rights are conferred upon a prospective mother. 1997.p. Hardy. 129 AIR 1963 SC 1295. pages: 4-8. the same cannot be denied to a prospective mother by another statute emanating from the same source and the same was observed by the Hon’ble Supreme court in State of Tamil Nadu and ors. 75-78.S.S. by Phillip A.The Ninth Amendment.2) genetic metabolic diseases 3) heamoglobinopathies 4) sex-linked genetic diseases 5) congenital anomalies 6) any other abnormalities or diseases as may be specified by the central supervisory board. page 189. copyright 1991. 110.

S. Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Article 4 of the African Charter of Human Human and People's right. 27. Planned Parenthood v. 113.116. The right to .S. Roe v. (Application No. International courts and tribunals have not addressed the difficult philosophical issue of when life begins. but have focused on the meaning of the language used in the relevant treaties. May 13. 8416/78) European Commission of Human Rights. 3 EHRR 244 (1981) (Application No. 833 (1992). The right of a woman to her private life has been the basis on which a number of international bodies have upheld the right of a woman to have an abortion. 1980. European Commission of Human Rights. Casey. July 12. They have generally held that the references to every human being or everyone or every person do not include an unborn foetus. 6959/75). 1977. 3 EHRR 408 (1981). para. The right to life of the fetus has to be balanced with the rights of the mother. International Instruments Relating Right To Abortion Article 1 of the American Declaration of Rights and Duties of Man and the Inter American Commission of Human Rights say that abortion is legalized until the end of Firat trimester Right to life is protected from the moment of its conception by Articles 6(1) of the ICCPR. 505 U. But the interpretations have forced us to believe that the child is not to be protected from the time of its inception. Wade 410 U. But they are silent on the issue of when does life begin.

incest or to save the woman's life. and inspiring grassroots activism." 17% said that it should "only be permitted to save the woman's life. This is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision establishing that most laws against abortion violate a constitutional right to privacy. 27% said that abortion should be "permitted in all cases. but subject to greater restrictions than it is now. reshaping national politics. Jone Roe. dividing the nation into "pro-choice" and "pro-life" camps. the plaintiff wanted to terminate her pregnancy because she contended that it was a result of rape." 15% that it should be "permitted. thus overturning all state laws outlawing or restricting abortion that were inconsistent with the decision. the decision established a system of trimesters that attempted to balance the state's legitimate interests with the individual's constitutional rights.freedom of expression and access to information has been used to argue for the right of women to receive information about abortion options. The Court ruled that Historic Decision Of: ." 33% said that it should be "permitted only in cases such as rape. "What is your personal feeling about abortion"." and 5% said that it should "never" be permitted. "Do you favor or oppose the part of Roe v. Wade . to which 49% of respondents indicated favor. The right to access abortion may also be based on the right of a woman to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of her children. Relying on the current state of medical knowledge. asked. In a January 2006 CBS News poll in US. which asked. Wade that made abortions up to three months of pregnancy legal". Wades (1973) Roe v. The Roe Vs. [71] An April 2006 Harris poll on Roe v. Wade became one of the most politically significant Supreme Court decisions in history.

Wade.the state cannot restrict a woman's right to an abortion during the first trimester. The Criminal Code of the country required a pregnant woman who wanted an abortion to submit an application to a therapeutic committee. spousal notification laws. demarcating the viability of the fetus. laws barring state funding for abortions. parental notification laws. The Supreme Court struck down several state restrictions on abortions in a long series of cases stretching from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s. R (1988) 44 DLR (4th ) 385. liberty and freedom and security of a person. the Court focused on the bodily security of the pregnant women. In the Supreme Court Of Canada. Also the Abortion Act. including laws requiring parental consent for minors to obtain abortions. It was held in Paton Vs. a state can choose to restrict or even to proscribe abortion as it sees fit. In response to Roe v. spousal consent laws. The Supreme Court found that this procedure infringed the guarantee of security of a person. laws banning most very late term abortions. The right to life of fetus is subject to an implied limitation allowing pregnancy to be terminated in order . several states enacted laws limiting abortion. interpreting Article 7 of the Canadian Charter which guarantees an individual's right to life." and in the third trimester.1967 of the UK in its Article 2 does not confer an absolute right to life to the unborn. In the leading case of Morgentalor Smoling and Scott vs. This subjected the pregnant woman to psychological stress. the state can regulate the abortion procedure during the second trimester "in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health. Abortion is permitted if the continuance of the pregnancy involves risk. United Kingdom(1980) 3 EHRR 408. which resulted in delays. laws requiring abortions to be performed in hospitals but not clinics.

It came on the Statute Book as the "The MTP Act. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill was passed by both the Houses of the Parliament and received the assent of the President of India on 10th August. The passing of the Act made medical termination of pregnancy legal.to protect the life of a mother. The Supreme Court has said that the right to privacy is implicit in Article 21 of the Constitution and a right to abortion can be read from this right. it is was also held in 1992 by the Supreme Court that a women has the same exclusive right to abortion as to any to any other medical treatment. 1971". Abortion is severely condemned in Vedic.( (1992) 73 DR 155) Also. Paragraph 3 of the Code of Ethics of the Medical Council of India says: I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception. Upanishadic. 1971. The same was upheld in H Vs. The prospective fathers have no right to be consulted for the same. Abortion was being practised earlier by many. it was practised in a clandestine manner. Norway. with certain conditions for safeguarding the health of the mother. if the continuance of pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or grave injury to her physical or mental health. Because it was illegal. This law guarantees the Right of Women in India to terminate an unintended pregnancy by a registered medical . The Indian Perspective Indian law allows abortion. the laterpuranic(old) and smriti literature.

(2) On humanitarian grounds . her freedom may be curtailed. All other restrictions on the right to abortion are unwelcome. Act also does not classify the pregnancy period so that the woman's interests and the state's interests could be given predominance in one's own spheres. It is submitted that a decision as to abortion may be entirely left with woman provided she is sane and attained majority. Can a woman request a medical practitioner to perform an abortion on the ground that she does not want a child at that time? Where the liberty of the woman is fully dependant on certain other factors. etc. says that pregnancy can be terminated : (1) As a health measure when there is danger to the life or risk to physical or mental health of the women. such are quest cannot be said to be just and reasonable.where there is a substantial risk that the child.T. Only in cases where an abortion may affect her life. Not all pregnancies could be terminated. Section 3 of the said Act. if born. all to be arrived at by the medical practitioners. True.P. substantial risk of physical or mental abnormalities to the child if born and a situation where abortion could only save her life. and (3) Eugenic grounds .practitioner in a hospital established or maintained by the Government or a place being approved for the purpose of this Act by the Government.such as when pregnancy arises from a sex crime like rape or intercourse with a lunatic woman. a woman's decision as to abortion may depend upon her physical and mental health . would suffer from deformities and diseases. A woman's right in this respect is doubtful because her right is dependant on certain conditions: proof of risk to her life or grave injury to her physical or mental health. The M.

All these factors are quite relevant and the Indian statute on abortion does not pay any respect to them. for it may possibly affect a future marriage. It may be a time when she wants to change her profession.P.or the potential threat to the health of the child. Any indirect protection it gains under the Act is only a by-product resulting from the protection of the woman. The law thus is unreasonable and could well be found to be violative of the principles of equality provided under Article 14 of the Constitution. Conclusion In this area of law and medical jurisprudence. Finally it may be noted that the M. It is the protection to the mother that protects the unborn. Though the medical opinion’s infallibility could always be challenged. the tug of war between ‘privacy’ and ‘life’ is an unending conflict and much is left to the judicial approach.T. Apart from these reasons. The rights provided as well as the restrictions imposed under the statute show that the very purpose of the state is to protect a living woman from dangers which may arise during an abortion process. through reliance upon the medical jurisprudence because it is necessary to maintain the right of medical professionals to intervene on behalf of . Act does not protect the unborn child. the judges have almost accepted doctor’s definition of essentiality and the need to act quickly . Her relationship with the husband may virtually be on the verge of collapse and she may prefer not to have a child from him. there are also various important factors. Is it desirable to pay compensation to woman for all her physical and mental inconveniences and liabilities. which requires free time and hard work. This paper aims at resolving the conflict of rights. which arises in that context. She or the family may not be financially sound to welcome an addition.

performing one to five million abortions a year.foetus when a woman is unable to understand the importance of the decision. A mother has got a natural duty to provide the maximum best possible to her offspring. and for lonely and abandoned babies. where the state or voluntary organizations are ready to take care of the unborn. We need to offer women with unplanned pregnancies as much love and support as they require and to assist them in finding compassionate alternatives to abortion. It is also said that delivering 20 million babies annually would be a greater strain on the nation?s medical services and economic resources than. It is also beneficial to the mother. which injuriously affect the foetus. say. It may be due to ignorance. But as always believed. taking viability of a legal standard. necessary protection should be provided to the unborn. carelessness or acts done willfully. However. Similarly this is also an attempt to provide a plausible solution only. As a hospitable community we should seek ways of providing support for lonely and frightened mothers. nothing perfectly straight can be built” . Her right is limited to have a termination of pregnancy. There is no meaning in conferring a right to the mother to destroy the foetus. Abortion is an issue to be left to the decision of the mother. no problem in legal jurisprudence has straight solutions or to use Kant’s expression. situations may arise where she indulges in activities. The great Tamil Saint Thiruvalluvar said :"The touch of children is the delight of the body. However. the delight of the ear is the hearing of their speech". . The law has to take care of the liberty of the mother as well as the unborn. “ From such crooked wood as man is made.

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