The Supreme Court has held that all women are entitled to safe and legal abortion. The court says the marital status of a woman can't be grounds to deprive her of the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy.
"Single and unmarried women have the right to abort under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act & rules till 24 weeks of pregnancy.
"The meaning of rape must be held, including marital rape, for purpose of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act," the court rules. The court says the distinction between married and unmarried women is "artificial and constitutionally unsustainable". It perpetuates the stereotype that only married women indulge in sexual activities, the court said.
A three-judge bench of justices D Y Chandrachud, J B Pardiwala and AS Bopanna had reserved its verdict last month on the issue of interpretation of the MTP Act and said it will allow 'unmarried' or 'single' woman the benefit of abortion up to 24 weeks.
The court had said last month that it would "fine-tune" the provisions listed under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act in a manner that there is no discrimination between 'married' and 'unmarried' women and allow them the benefit of abortion till up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.