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Explained: SC acknowledges marital rape and eases abortion laws – here’s what it entails

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Explained: SC acknowledges marital rape and eases abortion laws - here's what it entails

Recognising the concept of marital rape for the purpose of abortion, the Supreme Court on Thursday said a woman becoming pregnant as a result of non-consensual sexual intercourse with her husband was entitled to seek medical termination of pregnancy (MTP). According to the extended Rule B, survivors of sexual assault, rape, or incest (both married and unmarried women) are eligible to terminate pregnancy up to 24 weeks as against 20 weeks that was generally permissible.

High profile celebrity lawyer Zameer Nathani breaks down the changes and explains what it entails for women. “This is a judgement by Supreme Court of India as a messiah of justice for woman. In this case the Supreme Court of India, by a bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud recognised that Medical Termination of Pregnancy applies to not only married woman but also unmarried woman, and if any other interpretation is given, it is constitutionally unsustainable,” he said.

“Secondly, the Supreme Court of India also stated that it is not a condition that offence committed against a woman resulting in pregnancy is either registered or that allegation of rape or sexual assault has been proved before a court of law or some other forum, before it is decided whether medical termination of pregnancy is to be granted to the woman. This also clarifies technicalities that should not interfere with the legal and constitutional rights of woman to medically terminate pregnancy which has been caused for any reason including marital rape or even consensual sex,” he adds.

The existing provisions in the Act did not allow a single woman to go for abortion after 20 weeks while divorcees, widows, and some other categories of women were allowed termination of pregnancy up to 24 weeks on account of mental anguish and some other hardships.

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