The Liberal Canon
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The Liberal Canon

The Life In The Womb

What does the word Abortion make you think/feel?

For me, it does not signify death; it signifies the right of a woman over her body. Surprisingly, only 34% of countries in the world allow abortion based on the woman’s request. In many countries, abortion can turn women into criminals. In America, certain states like Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio allow abortion upto only six weeks of pregnancy.

In India, according to Lancet’s 2015 report, around ⅓ of the pregnancies in 2015 ended in abortion (15.6 million) with half of the pregnancies being unintended. Around 56% of abortions are designated as unsafe resulting in death of atleast 10 women every day.Surprisingly, in India, the recently updated Medical Termination of Pregnancy Laws (MTP), 2020 tries to be progressive but falls short of it. Abortion is only need based and fails to have a right-based directive in this country. The new law increases the upper limit of abortion from 20 to 24 weeks for special category of women (i.e victims of rape, incest, minors etc) and also reduces the requirement of the opinion of two doctors to one for upto 20 weeks, but requires two doctors to sign off during the period of 21–24 weeks. The question here is, why do women indirectly require a doctor’s permission to do something that should be their right? Is a woman incapable of taking the decision on her own? It fails to cater to the needs of special categorized women who have passed the 24 week limit. What do they do? Beg and file petitions to the uncompassionate, bureaucratic justice system of our country. From June 2016 to April 2019, 20% (19/97) of the rape victims were denied abortion forcing them to carry something that demeans their entire existence. In 2017, a 10 year old who was 28 weeks pregnant was denied abortion by the Supreme Court on grounds that termination would result in a health risk for both her and her foetus. Here, I ask, what about the lifetime of societal persecution and agony the girl will have to face if her pregnancy is successful? (Yes, unfortunately it was successful)

The MTP completely removes the upper gestation limit in the case of foetal abnormalities but it requires the consultation/permission of the Medical Board, which in most cases delays the

decision resulting in huge mental and physical trauma to women. How can women in rural areas avail such services when they are already burdened by the weight of class, caste and religion? It fails to consider the willful needs of women to perform an abortion, and in case of “contraceptive failure”, it only applies to married women and excludes a large number of single women including marginalized groups — sex workers, transgenders etc. It also fails to explicitly accept that abortion is a right and that a woman who has a perfectly healthy child growing in her can opt for it, without being scared of any repercussions.

These laws, according to me, portray tools which withold women from progressing, and undermines their freedom of choice entirely. The abortion laws rise out of the duty of the state to protect life, but I ask the state on what grounds is it protecting life when it can’t even nurture it in the womb. The woman literally gives her life to the child and hence, till it’s in her womb she should have complete choice as to whether she wants to continue nurturing the child or terminate it. As harsh as it may sound, the question of whether the child is alive or not, should not even arise.

Abortion Laws in most places around the world have to be reconsidered but the question I ask myself is, is it possible when high ranking political positions are still held by men who have repeatedly failed to understand a woman’s dilemma? Abortion needs to be normalized to prevent the need to pursue unsafe abortion practices but this would require massive awareness penetration to the deepest levels of our soical structure which makes me question the ability of India to do the same.

Rahul Ingole




“The Liberal Canon” is a student endeavour that hopes to give every individual the opportunity to express themselves. By initiating important conversations , sparking debates and encouraging dissent , the newsletter is playing a crucial role in moulding the leaders of tomorrow.

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