India expands abortion access to 24 weeks for single women

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India’s Supreme Court ruled last week that single women can now access abortion at 24 weeks rather than the country’s previous 20-week limit.

The nation previously allowed married women to obtain later abortions at 24 weeks after an amendment was added to the Medical Termination Pregnancy Act from 1971, the Associated Press reported. That law had originally limited abortion to 20 weeks but the 2021 amendment expanded that timeframe for married women who were divorced or separated, minors, victims of rape, and those experiencing mental illness. 

Thursday’s court decision was reportedly advanced as a way to end discrimination between married and unmarried women. “The artificial distinction between married and unmarried women cannot be sustained. Women must have autonomy to have free exercise of these rights,” Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud reportedly said. 

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The decision, however, fuels the high abortion rate in India and will likely make the male to female ratio even less balanced. 

As Live Action News previously reported, sex-selective abortions have reduced the number of girls by tens of millions:

It is… estimated that at least 13.5 million girls have been aborted in India between 1987-2016 alone. Since prenatal sex determination tests became popular in the 1970’s, it is thought that India has approximately 63 million fewer females than it would have, had such testing never become available. 

The country, often described as a subcontinent, saw 48,000,000 abortions from 2015-2019, according to the Guttmacher Institute. That’s slightly lower than the estimated 52,000,000 from 2010-2014 and higher than preceding years.

In August, the Delhi High Court caught attention for allowing a teenage rape victim to abort her baby at 7 months.

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