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Laws on Abortion

In current India, Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 i.e., MTP Act and The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021 are the two main legislations which deal with the reproductive rights. But these rights are not completely inclusive.

MTP Act has been criticized for not taking a rights-based approach because:

  1. It doesn't grant complete authority to the pregnant person to end the pregnancy
  2. It makes the pregnant person to go through systematic barriers
  3. It uses word 'Women'. This word leaves out other genders which are capable of bearing the child such as transgender, non-binary persons, etc.
  4. Final decision to end the pregnancy lies in the hands of Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs).

The grounds for ending the pregnancy can be:

  1. Grave danger to physical/mental health of the pregnant woman,
  2. Foetal abnormalities,
  3. Rape/coercion,
  4. Contraceptive failure, etc.

But after all these scenes, some issues arise in India due to the socio-economic and educational condition of our country such as lack of RMPs, high costs in private hospitals & health canters, lack of good facilities in Government hospitals & health canters, etc. As a result, women in India turn towards the unsafe and illegal abortion methods.

According to National Family Health Survey, 2017-19; 27% abortions were carried out at home by women themselves.

According to United Nations Population Fund's State of World Population Report:

  1. Around 8 women die daily in India due to unsafe abortion,
  2. Between 2007 and 2011, 67% of the total abortions done were unsafe,
  3. Unsafe abortion is one of the top three causes of maternal death.

Talking about the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021; this act also has so many defects such as:

  1. Act is exclusionary,
  2. Disregards privacy,
  3. Exploits women's reproductive labor,
  4. Only heterosexual married couple (with certain conditions) can be the intending parents,
  5. Altruistic surrogacy denies the women the compensation for reproductive labor,
  6. Act requires intending parents to declare their infertility and declare their identity,
  7. Act requires to reveal the identity of the surrogate, etc.

Abortion in India is a complex topic. The skewed sex ratio is proof that unsafe abortion & female feticide are rampant. There are still gaps that need fixing in the MTP Act and Surrogacy (Regulation) Act.

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