Roe v. Wade overturned: Comparative analysis of Indian and American abortion laws

NEW DELHIEdited By: Nikhil PandeyUpdated: Jun 25, 2022, 07:07 PM IST
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The US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion. Now, Americans are deeply divided over the SCOTUS ruling. The US is witnessing widespread protests over the decision.

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The US Supreme Court has allowed individual states to outlaw or severely restrict a pregnant person's ability to obtain an abortion.Numerous US states have enacted "trigger laws" that take effect if Roe v. Wade is struck down. Others have left outdated laws that prohibited abortion before 1973 on the books; they may now be reinstated.

After the US Supreme Court overturned its 50-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling, which now denies women the constitutional right to an abortion, protests broke out across the nation. The decision, according to President Joe Biden, was a "tragic blunder" that had set the nation back 150 years.

The decision was made after a report that the US Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked in early May. The ruling on Friday has shed light on abortion laws in other nations, notably India, where abortion has been permitted under certain conditions for the past 50 years.

Let's take a look at the abortion law in India as public indignation over the US Supreme Court decision grows.

What is the legal stance in India?

If it wasn't done in good faith to save the woman's life, Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code makes intentionally causing a miscarriage a crime.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, a law passed by the Parliament in 1971, gave licenced medical professionals permission to perform abortions in specific predetermined situations. Doctors who performed abortions in line with the law were exempt from prosecution under Section 312 IPC.

Women do not have an unrestricted right to abortion under the law. Under specific conditions and to a certain extent, abortion is permissible based on a medical opinion.

The amendments in Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act

Since the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act was passed in 1971, abortion has been permitted in India under a variety of circumstances. The Act was changed to give women access to safe and authorised abortion procedures.

In order to permit the use of the brand-new medical abortion medicines mifepristone and misoprostol at the time, the abortion law was briefly modified in 2002.

The MTP Act, 1917 was ultimately revised in 2021. On March 16, 2021, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2021, received approval from the president in the Rajya Sabha. On March 17, 2020, the Lok Sabha passed the Bill.

Present status

All women may choose to end their pregnancies up to 20 weeks if their doctor recommends it. However, special categories of women such as survivors of sexual abuse, minors, rape victims, incest, and disabled women can seek termination up to 24 weeks.

If a medical board of specialist doctors decides that there is a foetal disability, there is also no maximum gestation for abortion.

Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994

To avoid abuse of the MTP Act and to ensure that abortions "aren't carried out at the whims and fancies of a woman or a couple," the PCPNDT (Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques) Act was passed in 1994.

While a woman can get an abortion without the agreement of her spouse, she cannot be forced to have one by her spouse.

Present status in the US

Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, abortion restrictions were put into place immediately in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

At least 13 states already have legislation that forbid abortions outright or will do so shortly.

Unless the procedure is carried out in the case of a medical emergency, Missouri punishes anybody who performs an abortion with a five- to 15-year prison sentence.


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