Abortion & its Legal Scenario

Abortion is the consummation of pregnancy by evacuation or removal of an undeveloped organism or baby before it can make due outside the uterus. An abortion that happens without mediation is known as an unnatural birth cycle or unconstrained abortion. At the point when intentional advances are taken to end a pregnancy, it is called an instigated abortion, or less as often as possible “Induced Miscarriage”. The unmodified word abortion, by and large, alludes to a prompted abortion. An equivalent procedure after the undeveloped organism can get by outside the stomach is known as a “late end of pregnancy” or less correctly as a “late-term foetus removal.

Premature birth, which is communicated as Causing Miscarriage is considered as a remedial offence. It identifies with a ‘ladies who makes her to prematurely deliver’. Among various rights that women have been surrendered in India, the author thinks that the Government should give the Right to Abortion as equivalent load as the Right to conceive a child and get pregnant.

The Right to Abortion positively falls under the domain of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as does the Right to live with pride and settle on free decisions except if they meddle with the present method of the law. On account of abortion, the women similarly enjoy the Right to life and settle on free decisions upon what she needs to do with her body, as some other resident of India. Besides, buying into a significant logical conviction, a foetus isn’t a real person. It has the capability of being a person yet it isn’t.[1]

Research Methodology

Doctrinal research has been followed by the researcher all through the exploration of auxiliary sources like books, articles and websites have been referred for the accomplishment of the research.

Abortion In Indian Context

Abortion has consistently been a polarizing issue isolating the world into warring groups thinking about central ideas of life and self-governance. Profound quality and religion wind up at the focal point of this discussion, making a discourse that comes in embracing the seemingly faulty good high ground. India has one of the world’s increasingly liberal arrangements viewing abortion which comes as a stun when depicted against the preservationist background that is the truth. In this, lies the issue. The laws in India are as yet advancing towards a perfect for ladies’ opportunity yet are compared against a general public that isn’t prepared to execute it, bringing about its disappointment.

Undesirable pregnancy frequently prompts illicit and perilous abortions which are in opposition to the idea of ‘thorough abortion care’ just as one of the targets of The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 giving safe abortion care. Unsafe abortions are one of the significant reasons for maternal mortality in India. In evaluation, it was revealed that India consistently had 15.6 million Abortions.

Before 1971, abortion was condemned under Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 portraying it as deliberately “causing miscarriage”. Except for in situations where abortion was done to spare the life of the women, it was a culpable offence.

The expanded number of abortions occurring in the country put the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the alarm which instated a Committee in 1964 drove by Shantilal Shah to consider suggestions to draft the premature birth laws or we can say Abortion laws for India. This bill was passed in August 1971 as the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.

Abortion and Sex Determination

One of the significant reasons for abortion is sex assurance. The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 later altered in 2002 manages the sex choice which prompts female child murder and directs the procedures in identifying hereditary or metabolic disarranges or chromosomal variations from the norm.

Female child murder is nothing not exactly executing an unborn infant on account of her sexual orientation. It can likewise be named as sex-selective abortion. The Indian culture has consistently been living under the recognition that Boys hold a higher Position than girls. This is the explanation that the general public has generalized young women and seen them second rate compared to young men.

According to the on-going investigation directed by the Asian Centre for Human Rights, as high as 11 Crores Female Infanticide cases have occurred in India. India has been positioned in the fourth situation by the United Nations Populations Fund in the year 2016.

The author believes it is an upsetting situation for India, a country where we talk about Beti Bachao, BetiPadhao and Women Empowerment and then again we murder our little girls mercilessly.

The main question which stays unanswered is that what was the shortcoming of the little girl who was going to take birth?

Some groups look for premature birth still more like we can say, teenagers, sex labourers, Victims of the sexual Assault and individuals who favour the male kid over female. There is no reason for proceeding with a pregnancy, where the mother is reluctant to acknowledge the kid. In situations where the guardians look for a male kid, here also the life of the female kid is fairly tormenting.

Laws Governing Abortion In India

The Indian Penal Code, 1860

The Indian Penal Code, 1860, mulling over the social, energetic and clinical implications of abortion, proclaims initiated abortion as illicit all through India. Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code[2], 1860 lights up premature birth as causing fruitless work. It applies to a lady who does unexpected delivery intentionally.

Premature delivery or the term Miscarriage actually would mean unconstrained abortion, while, deliberately causing unnatural birth cycle, which is condemned under Section 312, will represent criminal abortion. If there is a chance of identifying with the life of the mother, the pregnancy can be stopped. The unborn adolescent in the stomach must not be destroyed aside from if the abortion is for the sole motivation to spare the life of the mother.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy act, 1971

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 discussed the circumstances where a restorative foetus removal can be done by an enrolled medical expert. The demonstration features in what circumstances pregnancy can be ended, the specified time such pregnancy will be ended, in where this end will happen, and who is approved to direct such an act.

As indicated by the demonstration, a pregnancy must be ended under a couple of conditions, for example, in circumstances that if the pregnancy is compelled to be continued it would be a danger for the life of the mother, & she had to bear the physical as well as mental injury.

Further, the demonstration figures out who is an enrolled clinical expert and in what spot will the process of the pregnancy can be terminated. The exhibit moreover communicates that the pregnancy can be finished in 12 weeks of pregnancy and the evaluation of at any rate two clinical practitioners are required if the premature birth is done between 12-20 weeks for different reasons[3], The Act doesn’t allow suspension of pregnancy after 20 weeks.

So, Medical Termination of Pregnancy act left ladies not to access safe Abortion after 20 weeks of Pregnancy which further left them with two decisions: Death because of unsafe and illicit premature births or the mental traumas and enthusiastic outcomes of a pregnancy for which they were not prepared for.

Just because of this act a minor rape victim was forced to give birth to the child of her Rapist after the High Court of Madras didn’t permit her solicitation for Abortion under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971. The casualty was first analysed by a specialist at 19 weeks, who rejected & turn down their request to abort, even though it was allowed under the law. When her appeal was heard by the court, her pregnancy had crossed the limit i,e, 20-week past for which premature birth is restricted under the respective Act.

Courts didn’t permit rape victims an abortion in 17% of 82 cases between April 2016 and July 2019, the report said.[4]

Haresh and Niketa Mehta in 2008, appealed in the Bombay High Court to permit them to prematurely end their 26-week-old baby who had been determined to have a heart imperfection[5].

The Mehtas’ supplication was turned down on master exhortation. Nikita Mehta, by chance, had a Miscarriage just after the verdict[6].

From that point forward, numerous cases have gone up to the Supreme Court requesting to abort beyond the legally permissible limit, often involving victims of sexual crimes casualties of sexual wrongdoings[7].

This January, the Union Cabinet cleared a long-pending change to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 that raises the lawfully passable breaking point for a fetus removal to 24 weeks from the present 20 weeks[8].

Alterations which are to be made Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

It builds the most extreme passable gestation age for premature birth to 24 weeks, with the stipulation that for pregnancies that are between 20-24 weeks sentiments will be required from two specialists instead of one.

The upper development breaking point won’t have any significant bearing in instances of generous foetal variations from the norm analysed by a Medical Board.

As indicated by an administration articulation: “The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 is for extending access of ladies to protected and legitimate foetus removal benefits on remedial, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds… It is a stage towards the security and prosperity of the ladies and numerous ladies will be profited by this. 

The first draft of the Bill had incorporated the preventative disappointment statement just for married ladies, which is now felt by the Health Ministry, would have left unmarried ladies, on whom social weights to prematurely end are progressively intense, helpless before quacks.

As designated by a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute, half of the pregnancies in six of the bigger Indian states — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh — are unintended. Information from the National Family Health Survey 4 shows that only 47.8% of couples in the nation utilize present-day preventative techniques; just 53% utilize any strategy whatsoever.


Comparatively, the premature birth laws in USA and UK are unmistakably more extraordinary and dissimilar than the laws in India. In the United States, the laws are more Women-Centric. A lady’s entitlement to protection is given more weight than the minor society, yet in India, a definitive force is held by the clinical specialists, who are to authorize the foetus removal in compliance with common decency.

The Union Cabinet spearheaded by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has confirmed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to change the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The Bill will be introduced in the accompanying gathering of the Parliament.

It also proposed necessity for an assessment of one provider for end of pregnancy, as long as 20 weeks of incubation and presenting the prerequisite of assessment of two suppliers for end of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of development.

It is for extending access of ladies to protect and lawful Abortions benefits on restorative, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds. The proposed alterations include the substitution of certain sub-segments, the addition of certain new provisions under certain areas in the current Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, to build upper incubation limit for the end of pregnancy. 

The author also believes that this is a stage towards security and prosperity of numerous women who will be profited by this and the proposed increment in gestational age will guarantee poise, self-rule, privacy and equity for ladies who need to end a pregnancy.

[1] Sneha Mohanty, Abortion Laws in India. Retrieved  June 6, 2020, from  http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-1121-abortion-laws-in-india-.html

[2] Imperial Legislative Council. (1860). INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860(No. 45 of 1860). British India: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office.

[4]Nushaiba Iqbal Nov(2019) The abortion law in India is failing the women who need it the most, Retrieved June 6, 2020, from https://scroll.in/article/941210/the-abortion-law-in-india-is-failing-the-women-who-need-it-the-most

[5] Abantika Gosh (Feb 1) Explained: Changes in 1971 abortion law, and why India feels it necessary, Retrieved June 6, 2020, from https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-1971-abortion-law-changes-india-6244999/

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid

Saurav Malhotra from Symbiosis Law School, Noida

“Since I’m a Fresher, I am still Learning. But I can vouch for the fact that I’m a fast Learner. I’m eager to learn and try not to give up until I get something right”

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