A short film named 'Aval' has sparked a conversation around how the stigma around abortion has been affecting the physical and mental health of women. Moreover, it is hiding the legal rights a woman has to make this crucial decision about her body and life.
Most women who approach a hospital or any government body to get an abortion face lectures about morality and are humiliated for wanting to make a choice. Many women are not aware that they have the right to make this choice. Hospitals often demand that a guardian, husband, or parent, gives consent to the process.
The truth is that a woman does not need someone else's consent to approach a hospital for abortion. The consent of a guardian is needed in the case of minors or if the woman is mentally ill. The situation is much more hostile if the woman is unmarried or a sex worker.
Many doctors demand High Court consent if the pregnancy has entered the 21st week. This is not demanded by law. Abortion is legal even beyond 20 weeks.
However, the MTP act (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) is heavily flawed. The act is flawed because it was designed to control the population, not to protect the rights of women.
The amendment bill of 2020 is currently being discussed in Rajya Sabha. It purposed expanding access “to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds”.