ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Step Forward for Abortion Rights and a Blow to the Marital Rape Except

The Supreme Court of India has recently held that Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, which details the categories of women who are eligible for termination of pregnancy up to 24 weeks, should be interpreted to include any woman who has undergone a material change of circumstances. It also holds that marital rape would be rape for the purposes of the MTP Act.

X v The Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Govt of NCT of Delhi & Anr (X v The Principal Secretary) concerned the plea of an unmarried woman who had become pregnant due to a consensual relationship to terminate her pregnancy. At the time that she approached the High Court of Delhi, she was 22 weeks pregnant.

The legal provision applicable to her is contained in Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, as amended by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021. Under Section 3(2)(b) of the MTP Act, where the length of the pregnancy is between 20 and 24 weeks, if the case concerns a woman as prescribed under the rules of the act, at least two registered medical practitioners must be of the opinion either that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health; or there is a substantial risk that if the child is born, it would suffer from serious physical or mental abnormality. Thus, as the first qualifier, the petitioner was required to show that she fell in the class of women prescribed by the MTP Rules 2021 (Rule 3B) and could thus avail of Section 3(2)(b).

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Updated On : 21st Nov, 2022
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