In general terms, Reproductive rights are the rights of individuals to decide
whether to reproduce and have reproductive health. This could include the right
to start a family, end a pregnancy, use contraception, learn about sex education
in public schools, and obtain reproductive health services. All couples and
individuals have the right to choose the number, spacing, and timing of their
children in a free and responsible manner.
It also encompasses the right to
knowledge and the means to obtain it, as well as the right to the greatest
quality of reproductive health, as well as the freedom to make reproductive
decisions free of discrimination, coercion, and violence. Courts have been in
the forefront of expanding, protecting, and promoting reproductive rights in the
Due to the moral, ethical, and religious implications of birth
control, abortion, and family planning, the reproductive rights movement in the
United States has witnessed many disputes in the past. Reproductive rights
remain an emotionally and politically contentious topic today, especially in
light of new technologies and recent legislation.
Despite the fact that India was one of the first countries in the world to
develop legal and policy frameworks ensuring access to abortion and
contraception, women and girls continue to face significant obstacles to fully
exercising their reproductive rights, including poor health services and denials
of decision-making authority.
In the past, India's reproductive health laws and
policies have failed to prioritise women's rights, instead focusing on
demographic goals such as population control, while also implicitly or
explicitly undermining women's reproductive autonomy through discriminatory
provisions such as spousal consent requirements for access to reproductive
health services. Despite a national legislation prohibiting girls under the age
of 18 from marrying and laws and initiatives ensuring women's maternal
healthcare, India continues to have the greatest number of child marriages and
20 percent of all maternal fatalities worldwide.
Regardless of the fact that
India's National Population Policy guarantees women voluntary access to the full
range of contraceptive methods, state governments continue to implement schemes
that encourage female sterilization, including through targets, coercion, risky
substandard sterilization procedures, and denial of access to non-permanent
methods. While India's Constitution does not directly recognise the right to
health (or reproductive rights), various High Courts and the Supreme Court
rulings have interpreted the right to health and the right to reproduction as
crucial to the right to life under Article-21.
Human rights experts and bodies from the United Nations have expressed concern
to the Indian government about a variety of reproductive rights issues,
including maternal mortality and morbidity, unsafe abortion and poor
post-abortion care, lack of access to a full range of contraceptive methods and
reliance on coercive and substandard female sterilisation, child marriage, and a
lack of information and education on reproductive and sexual health.
been urged to resolve these transgressions, as well as discrepancies in access
to reproductive health care, by these experts and authorities. Access to legal
and safe abortion is a critical component of sexual and reproductive equality,
as well as a public health concern, and must be considered in current democratic
discussions that seek to create a just society free of all forms of
Women have been the worst sufferers of Covid-19 due to multiple reasons. The
pandemic warrants a reminder that reproductive rights are human rights - they
are essential and urgent. It may not be wrong to say that human rights were
introduced in India right back in 1950 with the development of the Constitution
of our country.
The human rights movement has seen rapid progress and success,
and many national programs and mechanisms have been introduced to complement the
growing recognition of an individual's rights. Experts have pointed to how
reproductive rights form an integral part of human rights at a broad level and
even of our Constitution at a national level, and therefore India's obligations
to them. There is reciprocity between reproductive rights and a larger human
Just as human rights cannot be realized without promoting
women's reproductive rights, reproductive rights draw their meaning and force
from long-recognized human rights. However, the merging of the two in practice
remains ambiguous. Indeed, the fact that reproductive rights apply to everyone -
irrespective of age and marital status - is a concept difficult to get through
to an Indian audience. It is no surprise then that reproductive rights have not
been completely established despite being an innate part of every individual.
Conceptualizing The Problem
- Women reproductive rights in India: prospective future
Reproductive health and the right to reproductive health is a family health and
societal issue, not only a woman's concern. The ultimate goal of the right to
reproduction is the family's and individual's well-being. At the same time,
governments must provide quality reproductive health care and defend individual
reproductive rights while remaining attentive to local and cultural challenges.
There is a greater need for judicial and government enlightenment while
preserving the reproductive rights of people with disabilities, particularly
those with mental retardation and mental illness. There is also a greater demand
for judicial system enlightenment on the procedure of consent to abortion. Men's
involvement and active community participation are required to achieve
high-quality reproductive health care (spouse).
- Realizing Reproductive Choice and Rights Abortion and Contraception
Especially considering the fact that abortion has been legal in India since
1972, this study indicates that the great majority of Indian women lack
reproductive rights and choices. The findings of this paper shows that in order
for women in poor nations to have reproductive rights and choices, they must
address topics other than abortion legislation.
The findings of this study
reveal that in India, the lack of safe, effective, and accessible temporary
contraception is just as big of a barrier to women's reproductive rights and
choices as the law's ineffectual and bad implementation. While most (but not
all) women in the Western world consider basic access to effective contraception
to be a given, this is not the case in many developing nations, with India being
a prime example.
Similarly, passing an abortion-related law is a necessary but
insufficient prerequisite for assuring access to safe and effective abortion
services. It is also critical to ensure that women are aware of their legal
rights, that service provision reaches a large number of women, and that social,
gender-based, and health-related barriers to service access are appropriately
addressed. For Indian women, temporary contraception must be made a viable
Our results demonstrate that, despite their dire need, women do not use
temporary methods, in part because they are unaware of their existence or where
to obtain them, in part because influential family members such as husbands,
mothers-in-law, or mothers oppose their use, and in part because they themselves
are sceptical of these methods
- India's reproductive assembly line
Surrogacy also had a greater emotional impact on the women than other types of
paid work. Surrogacy helped women to demonstrate their moral value because kids
are life affirming in a way that clothing are manifestly not. Their sexual
morality was continually questioned at the factory and at home when they worked
in the clothing industry. They were in a women-only zone at the hostel,
abstaining from sex and enjoying pure, virtuous lives.
- Toward Human Rights and Evidence-Based Legal Frameworks for
(Self-Managed) Abortion: A Review of the Last Decade of Legal Reform
It has been determined that the "fragmented landscape" of abortion laws and
regulations makes no legal or public health sense. The constraints on abortion
listed above (including self-managing) illustrate that abortion is still viewed
as a rare occurrence that necessitates medical intervention or supervision.
Self-managed abortion and the expanding body of evidence are changing the model
of abortion access, but they are also calling into question the portrayal of
abortion as a rare occurrence that requires medical supervision or control.
Abortion continues to be overregulated, despite the fact that it is a fairly
common and safe procedure (given the right circumstances).
debates are rarely limited to health and human rights issues, with technical,
political, religious, and other variables all playing a role. We recognise that
legal change is a complicated process that necessitates a succession of clever
political concessions. Separating the wheat from the chaff in abortion arguments
can be as simple as defining the core foundations of legislative reform (in
accordance with the most recent human rights standards and accessible facts).
While the recently passed legislation are a step in the right direction, much
more effort is required to bring domestic frameworks in line with evidence and
human rights. The majority of the reforms favour partial decriminalisation or
- Abortion in the context of COVID-19: a human rights imperative
Women's access to safe abortion must not be ignored as states work to stop
COVID-19's damage. Women must be able to prevent and/or manage unwanted
pregnancies, not only for their own health and well-being, but also to support
effective public health responses to prevent and treat COVID-19, with dwindling
contraceptive supplies, overburdened health systems, job losses, and rising
risks of violence.
The pandemic has brought attention to the ways in which
existing legal frameworks - even in nations with "liberal" abortion laws
continue to stifle access to this vital health care by failing to acknowledge
the safety of medical abortion, especially through telemedicine. Allowing women
to have a safe self-managed abortion with telemedicine counselling is more than
a matter of harm reduction; it is also a matter of human rights and would be a
critical step toward governments meeting their binding international legal
- Feminism, National D development, and Transational Family Planning
The success of feminist women's efforts was contingent on forming alliances with
a wide range of people, from demographers to eugenicists, medics to planners,
who promoted population control as a means of national (and "Third World")
development. According to some historians, the result brought together odd
bedfellows in both national and international family planning initiatives.
Family planners helped forward the promise of state-led family planning to
alleviate poverty without grappling with gender, class, or caste imbalances by
presenting women in this role. Indeed, feminism's link to family planning hinged
on its claim to pull poor women's reproductive life more firmly into the arms of
the development state, rather than on its claim to fight patriarchy or women's
- Heterosexuality and the Happy Family
It has shown, the language of the tiny and happy family is based on a series of
promises about heteronormative reproduction and the future. Reproduction is
solely responsible for constructing the future envisioned by the Five Year
Plans, just as it is in works like We Two Our Two. Rather than social reform,
the text advocates for reproductive regulation; proper reproduction generates
- Global Developments in Laws on Induced Abortion: 2008-2019
Evidence suggests that restricting abortion does not eradicate the practise;
rather, it leads to women having illegal abortions, which are likely to be
dangerous. It is critical to monitor developments in the legal status of
abortion around the world on a regular basis.
Income and legality were
The percentage of countries in the two most liberal
categories increased in lockstep with GDP. Between 2008 and 2019, 27 countries
increased the number of legal reasons for abortion; 21 progressed to a new
legality category, and six added at least one of the most prevalent extra legal
reasons. A variety of tactics, most involving many stakeholders and appeals for
compliance with international human rights principles, resulted in reform. Over
the last decade, the global trend toward liberalisation has continued;
nonetheless, more progress is needed to achieve all women's right to legal
abortion and appropriate access to safe procedures in all nations.
It has been 74 years since India got independence and there cannot be a more
right time to analyse the position and 'space' that women in India enjoy today.
The journey of women's emancipation in India has been truly dynamic with women
participating in nationalist movements, to being pushed into the domestic
household space, to their resurgence as super-women today; women in our country
have seen it all.
However, the recognition of sexual and reproductive rights of women in the
country still remains negligible. Reproductive rights in India are understood
only in the context of selective issues like child marriage, female foeticide,
sex selection and menstrual health and hygiene issues.
This is reflected in election manifestos of various parties where political
parties have promised to make registration of marriages compulsory, implement
the laws prohibiting child marriages, provide reproductive and menstrual health
services to all women across India, make marital rape an offence and to ensure
strict implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques
(Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT) Act.
According to UNICEF India and World Bank data, India counts among the highest
number of maternal deaths worldwide. India witnesses 45,000 maternal deaths
every year, coming to an average of one maternal death every 12 minutes.
Unsafe abortions are the third leading cause of maternal deaths in India.
Researches have shown that half the pregnancies in India are unintended and
about a third result in abortion. Only 22% of abortions are done through public
or private health facilities.
Lack of access to safe abortion clinics, particularly public hospitals, and
stigma and attitudes toward women, especially young, unmarried women seeking
abortion, contribute to this.
Doctors refuse to perform abortions on young women or demand that they get
consent from their parents or spouses despite no such requirement by law. This
forces many women to turn to clandestine and often unsafe abortions.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 provides for termination only up
to 20 weeks. If an unwanted pregnancy has proceeded beyond 20 weeks, women have
to approach a medical board and courts to seek permission for termination, which
is extremely difficult and cumbersome.
The law does not accommodate non-medical concerns over the economic costs of
raising a child, effects on career decisions, or any other personal
The silence around unsafe abortion leads to deaths of women and hides important
problems that lie at the intersection of these concerns, such as the formidable
barriers for adolescent girls to access reproductive health services, including
Public policies surrounding reproductive rights are still largely focussed on
sterilisation as opposed to other methods of contraception.
Poor awareness of lawful abortion care and contraception is pervasive among the
general public and healthcare providers alike.
The use of an Aadhar card as a pre-condition to access medical services is a
Large-scale data infrastructures are on the rise, resulting in the datafication
of the reproductive health environment.
Very sad thing in India is that the issue of female sterilization, men are not
coming forward, family planning burdens are only upon the women till now.
After many laws passed, the situation is not good because only normative changes
in law cannot bring changes in society or societal reform. Law is not a big
agent of societal control, until male domination or male control prevail in our
society. The situation cannot change speedily.
All laws made by India mainly reflect male experience of life, till today we
have not added female experience of life yet. Female experience excludes from
|Same treatment : antecedent disadvantage not
||Different treatment may be necessary to
redress disadvantage (quota)
|Relative : equality poor
||Improve conditions for all
|Abstracted from societal context
||Power or cultural norms
Previous High Courts and Supreme Court judgements are protective for women
(formal quality) not substantive equality.
In India, one woman dies every 15 minutes due to lack of healthcare during
pregnancy and childbirth. Although the country legalized abortion almost five
decades ago, access is extremely limited, and it is estimated that one woman in
India dies every three hours due to an unsafe abortion.
Despite a national law
penalizing marriage of girls below 18 years of age, in practice India continues
to account for the highest number of child marriages; and despite policies and
schemes guaranteeing women maternal healthcare, India accounts for 20% of all
maternal deaths globally. Various states have enacted coercive population
policies that exclude families with more than two children from welfare
programs, government jobs, political participation, and access to education and
health facilities - without guaranteeing couples access to a full range of
Further, Indian women face among the world's highest risk of HIV/AIDS and
discriminatory treatment if infected, forced abortions of female foetuses,
trafficking for forced prostitution, custodial rape in government institutions,
sexual harassment in the workplace; and harmful customs that seriously undermine
The issue of right to reproductive health especially
abortion, takes on special significance in the Indian context as various
national and international stakeholders struggle to bring meaning to the
important concepts of women empowerment, rights and choice.
For example, a woman should have the space to decide whether she wants to marry
or not, who she wants to marry, whether she wants to have children or not, how
many children does she want to have, and what will be the spacing between them.
This becomes important because even though both the male and the female
participate in procreation, it is the female who has the biological
responsibility of ensuring the complete development of the foetus.
a larger and more lasting effect on the woman who is pregnant in comparison to
her partner. It therefore becomes a woman's human right to decide whether and
when she wants to have children and choose what happens with her body.
The Indian setting is heavily guided by the social context that defines the
pressures, constraints, and options for women's reproductive behaviour. Women's
enjoyment of their reproductive rights is heavily undermined by gender-biased
norms and practices that govern family matters. At a higher level one finds
several apparent contradictions in how policies are set, how services are
delivered, how demographic trends and desires about family size and composition
shape the demand for contraception and abortion.
Although India was among the first countries in the world to develop legal and
policy frameworks guaranteeing access to abortion and contraception, women and
girls continue to experience significant barriers to full enjoyment of their
reproductive rights - it is time to change this. On this Human Rights Day, let
us pledge to support and steer reproductive rights, not only because we want
healthier women, but because we want empowered women and girls.
The problem of the unmarried mother and the illegitimate child is infinitely
old, but of late we have come to regard it in a new way. For ages it had been
one of those questions which were dealt with by specialists only, which were not
thought about, or known about by ordinary people ; something which tended to be
hushed up, and to be put in a special compartment, accessible only to the few
who worked among what our own mothers would have called, if they had referred to
them at all, fallen women.
In India if a girl gets pregnant before marriage then Most of the time her
family disowns her. If the boy who made her pregnant is man enough to handle the
situation, then she gives birth to their child. But most of the time, the boy
tries to ignore the girl and get rid of her. In case, even the boy who made her
pregnant is decent enough and ready to handle the situation, the family
disagrees and disowns them both.
Finally, if the girl, boy and their respective
families are OK with her pregnancy, the relatives create a fuss out of it and
make everyone feel guilty. In this case, if even the relatives and neighbors are
fine and acceptable to the situation, the society isn't. But, if she closes her
eyes, keeps her hand on her belly and thinks about the little life living within
her, she hardly cares about anyone or anything else.
Pregnancy before marriage or even having a child before marriage is perfectly
legal if both are consenting adults (18+). Although it is considered as a taboo
by the society and considered as an act of bringing shame to the entire family,
according to the Indian law, it is perfectly Legal.
But there are many challenges if people know that you are pregnant/have a child
despite being unmarried.
- Majority of the society will consider you as outcast, savage, etc (there
are a few exceptions though).
- People won't like their children to mingle with a child having unmarried
parents, The child would be referred as "NAJAYAZ AULAD" (Illegitimate child).
- Unmarried couples may face some problems in renting a house as many
owners or societies do not want unmarried couples living in their property
(to avoid any controversy). Many societies have specifically instructed the
members not to give their flat on rent to bachelors or unmarried couples or
give your flat for rent only to families. Many times owners themselves state
that only families are allowed, only for girls, etc.
- Some schools also demand a photocopy of the marriage certificate of
parents in the list of mandatory documents required for admission. This
could be a problem for your child if you aren't married by then.
The mindset of the society is gradually changing as years pass. But some of the
Orthodox mindset still prevails. It may take some time for people to accept it.
If someone tries to harass you, do not shy away from approaching the police or
Even in states where illegitimate children have the same inheritance rights as
legitimate children, there may be other impacts due to a lack of legitimacy. For
example, survivor benefits for pension rights may only provide benefits to
legitimate children. The receipt of survivor Social Security benefits depends on
whether a child is considered legitimate or whether steps based on state law
have been taken so that the child has acquired inheritance rights.
- Why only mother identity will not be sufficient for an illegitimate child (child
born before marriage)?
- Why are women in India still facing hell like a situation if she gets pregnant
before marriage and why can't she give birth to her own child and give her own
When a woman before marriage get pregnant then may be she will go for suicide or
murdered by her own family in our orthodox society. Yes, this is true. Parents
avoid to talk about sex , condoms basically sex education in the case of girls
they can't even discuss with her friends. So knowledge about sex is simply zero.
But boys know everything , which means they are wikipedia.
The most stupid
thing, our Indian films, girl fall in love with a boy and then they do sex (
shows love means to sex ) which complete their love. So where will girl will go,
she don't have sex education but seing bed scenes on TV, don't know about love,
but have boyfriend.
We have to teach girls to mature enough before the lesson of adjustment. Many
girls are facing punishment for those sins about which they actually don't know.
And then named as slut, prostitute, characterless even by her own family. And
after that pregnancy news, abortion is second thing or marriage. How can she
kill her own child, just because she is not her official child, and where is
child mistake, those fleshy masses which are going to become a new human, a new
being, which have the ability to change the world.
So the conclusion is in our country if an unmarried girl is pregnant her life is
completely shattered, and is more than a hell. Now she is news to most of her
relatives, neighbours about how characterless she is. Maybe her father will hang
himself, because he is more answerable to society than her girl life . Maybe her
mother will burn her or she will burn her daughter. Or she will got married
immidietly to any old aged man who will called her or treat her like a
prostitute. Or she will abort her child and live whole life as a guilt.
An illegitimate child is born to parents who are not married to each other at
the time of the child's birth. Even if the parents later married, the child
would still be considered illegitimate. Children who were born during a marriage
that was later annulled were historically considered illegitimate. However, many
state laws were modified to make the children legitimate in these situations.
This child was considered the child of no one. He or she had no legal rights to
inherit from either parent.
While legitimate children were seen as the property of the father, illegitimate
children were seen as the property of no one. Such a child was nullius filius
and had no legal relationship with his or her parents. The early bastardy laws
were aimed at preventing illegitimate children from becoming a charge on the
community—and attempted to do so by punishing the unmarried mother and the
reputed father, and charging either the mother or both for the relief of the
child. In the twentieth century, the status of the illegitimate child has
changed substantially as has the language concerning legitimacy.
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 provides that 'all children,
whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection' and
Article 2(2) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (UNCRC)
requires states to take all 'appropriate measures to ensure that the child is
protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the
status of the child's parents.'
Many states modified their laws to give illegitimate children the right to
inherit through one or both parents by the 20th century. Some states still had
laws that limited the legal rights of an illegitimate child. The United States
Supreme Court ruled that state laws that denied illegitimate children rights
based solely on their illegitimate status were unconstitutional under the Equal
Protection Clause of the federal Constitution. In a 1977 United States Supreme
Court case, the court struck down a state law that did not give a legitimate
child the right to inherit from her father unless there was a provision in his
will for an inheritance.
While at common law, the child was considered the child of no one, the modern
approach is to consider the child the biological mother's child. This means that
the child has a right to inherit from his or her biological mother unless there
was an adoption where the mother did not remain a legal parent.
However, the approach regarding whether a child has the right to inherit from
his or her father is not consistent through different states. Many states do not
consider an illegitimate child to be the legal child of his or her father.
However, there may be ways to establish the legal relationship, such as allowing
the child to present evidence of this relationship. In many states, if the
father publicly accepted that he was the child's father, the child may have the
right to inheritance.
Other ways that the child may establish paternity and be
able to acquire inheritance rights include if the father later married the
child's mother or there was a judicial proceeding establishing paternity.
Paternity usually has to be established during the father's lifetime for the
child to acquire inheritance rights. However, some states allow the child to
establish paternity through DNA testing after death.
Under the Uniform Probate Code, there is a presumption of paternity when the
father treats the child as his own and provides support for him or her. Some
jurisdictions infer paternity if the relatives of the father treat the child as
the father's child.
Reproductive rights of individuals and couples in India can be located in laws
and policies relating to health, employment, education, provision of food and
nutrition, and protection from gender-based violence. These fundamental rights
are guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India, but the right to
health or reproductive rights are not expressly recognised as fundamental
On many occasions our Hon'ble Supreme Court has interpreted the right to health
as an integral part to the right to life. In Suchita Srivastava and Another vs
Chandigarh Administration, the Court held that reproductive autonomy is a
dimension of personal liberty as guaranteed under Article-21 (Part-III) under
It is important to recognise that reproductive choices can be exercised to
procreate as well as to abstain from procreating. The crucial consideration is
that a woman's right to privacy, dignity and bodily integrity should be
respected. This means that there should be no restriction whatsoever on the
exercise of reproductive choices such as a woman's right to refuse participation
in sexual activity or alternatively the insistence on [the] use of contraceptive
Furthermore, women are also free to choose birth-control methods such
as undergoing sterilisation procedures. Taken to their logical conclusion,
reproductive rights include a woman's entitlement to carry a pregnancy to its
full term, to give birth and to subsequently raise children.
Several provisions under Part IV of the Constitution are also related to issues
of health, which are not enforceable in any court, but create an obligation on
the State to apply these principles in making laws and policies, such as
Article- 39(e), 39(f), 42, 45 and 47.
In the past, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTPA) regulated
access to abortion, when and under what conditions it may be conducted and by
whom. However, it has recently been replaced by the Medical Termination of
Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021. Unless conducted as per the MTPA, termination
of pregnancy is considered to be an offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
There are other laws which include provisions related to child marriage, immoral
trafficking, etc. which also deal with issues related directly or indirectly
related to reproductive health of women.
There are many schemes implemented by the government to address maternal health
and related issues, like Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent
Health (RMNCH+A), Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram
(JSSK), Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA), etc. which ensure
that contraceptives, hygiene products, awareness are reaching from time to time
and helping to some extent in reducing the number of women and girls who are
facing challenges related to their health and other concerns.
The Supreme Court has been extremely progressive on women's reproductive rights.
By decriminalising adultery and homosexuality (Navtej Johar judgment) the court
has held clearly, that women have a right to sexual autonomy, which is an
important facet of their right to personal liberty. The Puttaswamy judgment
specifically recognised the Constitutional right of women to make reproductive
choices, as a part of personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indian
In the case of Independent Thought v. Union of India in the context of
reproductive rights of girls SC held:
The human rights of a girl child are very
much alive and kicking whether she is married or not and deserve recognition and
These judgments have an important bearing on the sexual and
reproductive rights of women. The right to safe abortion is an important facet
of their right to bodily integrity, right to life and equality and needs to be
This paper will be based on a review of academic literature which contributed to
the development of the research project. The analysis under this article will be
based on secondary data collected by means of academic research papers, reports
from national and international agencies, magazines, newspaper coverage, and
conversations with advocats.The study is entirely qualitative. It mainly focuses
on the case study of India. An extensive evaluation inspired the study
selection, with special regard to the key areas stated earlier in the objective.
Scope Of Research
Child born before marriage will not be revealed or identified by the society to
be illegitimate. By this, their dignity will not be curtailed or dignity will be
as per with other legitimate children.
Sexual and reproductive rights in India must include:
- a concern with maternal deaths,
- access to maternal care to safe abortions,
- access to contraceptives,
- recognition of adolescent sexuality,
- prohibition of forced medical procedures such as forced sterilisations
- removal of stigma and discrimination against women, girls and LGBTI persons on
the basis of their gender, sexuality and access to treatment,
Under all societies in the world, the status of a child i.e. whether it is born
legitimate or illegitimate has great consequences. Both in contemporary society
and in historical society there is classification of children as legitimate and
illegitimate. Since time immemorial, there is a social stigma surrounding a
child who is not born to legally wedded/married parents. The illegitimate
children never enjoyed equal status along with the legitimate children.
has always discriminated against illegitimate children in many ways. Not only
has society discriminated against them, even law has discriminated against them.
Law has not given the illegitimate children the same legal rights as the
legitimate ones are given. Under almost all the personal laws the right to
inheritance of the legitimate children and the illegitimate children are not the
same. Illegitimacy carried a strong social stigma among all religions practised
in the world.
Indian society continues to act as though any childbirth that is not preceded by
a wedding ceremony falls outside the pale. According to the existing legal and
societal framework, the only children who are entitled to legal recognition are
those who are born into a relationship between a man and a woman. But in 2014
the Supreme Court judgment which ruled that the children of a live-in
relationship could not be termed illegitimate. Despite having granted the status
of legitimate, the Marriage Act could not protect the interests of innocent
children who have no control over their birth.
Relevance, Anticipated Outcomes And Proposed Outputs From The Research
That depends on the children and how they would be raised. Just because they are
illegitimate, doesn't mean they are all bad. They just want to make things
better for their own lives and want to fit in the world. Mostly, they are born
due to affairs and that they don't get accepted by the family because of being
the reminder of the affair.
The family should welcome the illegitimate children
with open arms including their half siblings. Some of them have ended up having
their lives become worse, because not only are they not accepted by the family,
but they end up getting bullied, abused, and friendless.
This would even happen
if they were put up for adoption. That is not fair for them. People should
befriend illegitimate children and help them improve their lives to become
better. If the illegitimate children went on a dark path or committed suicide
because of how their lives have become worse, then it would be on the people who
The MTP Act needs to be reformed comprehensively so that it can be more
inclusive and sensitive towards the plight of married women who are forced to
conceive and carry a pregnancy to term against their will. It should also
include the economic burden a woman has to undertake in raising a child. Access
to legal and safe abortion is an integral dimension of sexual and reproductive
equality, a public health issue, and must be seen as a crucial element in the
contemporary debates on democracy that seeks to provide the just society that
abhors all sort of discrimination.
The responsibility also lies with civil
society and development actors to bring up these issues for public debate and in
demand. Over the years, women have made great strides in many areas with notable
progress in reducing gender gaps. Yet realities of women and girls getting
trafficked, maternal health, deaths related to abortion every year has hit hard
against all the development that has taken place, even negating it sometimes.
As in the words of Swami Vivekananda "It is impossible to think about the
welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is impossible
for a bird to fly on only one wing."
- Reproductive Rights in India: The Current Situation
- Abortion and Reproductive Autonomy
- Judicial Recognition of Reproductive Rights as Fundamental and Human
- Assessment Of Key Areas Of Reproductive Health And Rights: Issues, Gaps
- What are the challenges?
- Rights available for Women in India:
- Right To Equality In Reproductive Decisions
- Right To Sexual And Reproductive Security
- Right To Reproductive Sexual And Health Services
- Issue of before marriage pregnancy
- What type of problems are facing the illegitimate child in India and
- Rights of Illegitimate child in India
- Way Forward and suggestions
Written By: Shashwata Sahu, Advocate,
- Kosgi, Srinivas; N, Vaishali Hegde; Rao, Satheesh; Undaru, Shrinivasa Bhat;
and Pai, Nagesh B., 2011, Women reproductive rights in India: prospective
future, 1-5. https://ro.uow.edu.au/medpapers/130
- Realizing reproductive choice and rights: abortion and contraception in
A. Malhotra, L. Nyblade, +2 authors N. Kashyap
- India's reproductive assembly line Author(s): sharmila rudrappa Source:
Contexts , SPRING 2012, Vol. 11, No. 2, from sweatshops to surrogacy (SPRING
2012), pp. 22-27 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the
American Sociological Association Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/41960808
- Toward Human Rights and Evidence-Based Legal Frameworks for
(Self-Managed) Abortion Author(s): LUCÍA BERRO PIZZAROSSA and PATTY SKUSTER Source: Health
and Human Rights , JUNE 2021, Vol. 23, No. 1, SPECIAL SECTION: Public and
Mental Health, Human Rights, and Atrocity Prevention (JUNE 2021), pp. 199-212
Published by: The President and Fellows of Harvard College on behalf of Harvard
School of Public Health/François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human
Rights Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/27040047
- Jaime Todd-Gher & Payal K. Shah (2020) Abortion in the context of COVID-19: a
human rights imperative, Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, 28:1, DOI:
- Mytheli Sreenivas (2021) Feminism, Family Planning and National Planning,
South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 44:2, 313-328, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2021.1886731
- https://uw.manifoldapp.org › section
"5. Heterosexuality and the Happy Family" in "Reproductive Politics ...
- Global Developments in Laws on Induced Abortion: 2008-2019
Lisa Remez,Guttmacher Institute
Katherine Mayall,Center for Reproductive Rights
Susheela Singh,Guttmacher Institute
First published online: December 14, 2020
LL.M., KIIT School of Law