REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS FOR A WOMAN
Author: Riya Dixit
Reproductive Rights were established as a subset of the human rights. Women have been fighting the struggle for reproductive rights for centuries. Historically, these rights are an especially controversial subject due to the moral, ethical, and religious consideration. Human rights are those rights, which should be available to every individual without any discrimination of any kind. Right of all couples and individual to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children.
It has been 70 years since India got independence and there cannot be a more right time to analyse the position and ‘space’ that women in India enjoy today.
The journey women’s emancipation in India has been truly dynamic with women participating in nationalist movements, to being pushed into the domestic household space, to their resurgence as super-women today; women in our country have seen it all.
Reproductive right – having the ability to decide whether and when to have children—are important to women’s socioeconomic well-being and overall health. Over the last decade, Indian courts have issued several notable decisions recognizing women’s reproductive rights as part of the “inalienable survival rights implicitly protected under the fundamental right to life. Women’s treated worse than slave.
WHO CONTROLS WOMEN’S BODIES
control over women’s bodies is a crucial aspect of reproductive freedom. Hence, the women’s movement articulated the range of situation in which patriarchal control over women’s bodies express itself: from a husband forcing his wife to have sex to a government forcing a woman to undergo sterilisation. It critiqued the Institutionalisation of Patriarchal control over women’s sexuality in the form of Monoandrous (one husband only) hetero-sexual marriage and challenged the predominant social norm of patrilineage (inheriting from the father’s side) that only offers the stamp of legitimacy to the legitimate heir, and severely punishes sexual expression or reproduction outside marriage. When a woman doesn’t have bodily integrity, when her body invaded against her will. When her choices are determined by social norms rather than personal preference.
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN INDIA
Feminist analysis of patriarchal control over reproduction by the women’s movement all over the world has spearheaded individual and collective attempts to fight against it at all levels. At the same time, women’s groups in third world Nations have asserted that the debate on women’s reproductive rights must account for the fact that reproduction is only one aspect of women’s physiology and lives, and cannot be viewed in isolation.
The Indian perspective on reproductive rights has had to additionally take account of several other inequalities and contradiction in society. On one hand, traditionally feudal society has sought to regulate every aspect of women’s lives. Religion, caste and cultural values have played important roles in defining and controlling women’s fertility.
In the present scenario where society decides where women will live, how they will live and who they will marry, whether they will study. In India, women’s with disabilities have been consistently denied their rights. Inadequate reproductive health care for women results in high rates of unsafe abortion and preventable death. It is apparent that the struggle for Indian women’s reproductive rights needs to go further than reproductive freedom, and enter the arena of social economic and political rights.
RIGHT TO ABORTION
An abortion is the removal or expulsion of an embryo or foetus from the uterus, resulting in, or caused by, it’s death. Throughout history, abortion is considered Debateable issue, It is a woman’s individual rights, right to her life to her liberty, and to the pursuit of her happiness that sanctions her right to have an abortion. A women’s reproductive and sexual health and shape her reproductive choices. Reproductive rights are internationally recognized as critical both to advancing women’s human rights and to promoting development. In recent years, government from all over the world have acknowledged to advance reproductive rights to an unprecedented degree. Formal laws and are crucial indicator of government commitment to promoting reproductive rights, and to promote that every women has an absolute right to have control over her body.
D. Rajeswari vs state of Tamilnadu And others
The case, is of an unmarried girl of 18 years who is praying for issue of a direction to terminate the pregnancy of the child in her womb, on the ground that bearing the unwanted pregnancy of the child of three months made her to become mentally ill and the Continuance of pregnancy had caused great anguish in her mind, which would result in a grave injury to her mental health, since the pregnancy was caused by rape. The court granted the permission to terminate the pregnancy.
Dr. Nisha Malviva and Anr. Vs state of MP
The accused had committed rape on minor girl aged about 12 years and made her pregnant. The allegations are that two Other-accused took this girl, they terminated her pregnancy. So the charge on them is firstly causing miscarriage without consent of girl. The court held all the three accused guilty of termination of pregnancy which was not consented by the mother or the girl.
Murari Mohan koley vs The state
In this case a woman wanted to have abortion on the ground that she has 6 months old daughter. She approached the petitioners for an abortion. And the petitioners agreed to it for a consideration. But somehow the condition of the women worsened in the hospital and she was shifted to another hospital. But it resulted in her death. The abortion was not done. The petitioners who was a registered medical practitioner had to establish that his action was done in good faith so that he can get exempt from any criminal liability under section 3 of the MTP Act, 1971.
The great Tamil saint said :-
“The touch of children is the delight of the body; the delight of the ear is the hearing of their speech”. A mother has got a natural duty to provide the maximum best possible to her offspring. However, situation may arise where she indulges in activities, which Injuriously affect the foetus. It may be due to ignorance, carelessness or acts done willfully. Abortion is an issue to be left to the decision of the mother. However taking viability of a legal standard, necessary protection should be provided to the unborn. It is also beneficial to the mother, where the state or voluntary organization are ready to take care of the unborn. There is no meaning in conferring a right to the mother to destroy the foetus. Her right is limited to have a termination of pregnancy. The law has to take care of the liberty of the other as well as unborn. As far as India is concerned, section 312 of the INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860 causes miscarriage punishable.