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Roe v. Wade Overturned: Why Is It Significant; Indian Laws On Abortion

There is much discussion regarding the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, which decided that there is no constitutional right to abortion by overturning the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, which is 50 years old.

Several prominent public figures and rights activists have harshly criticised the ruling, including U.S. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, former U.S. President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, and world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron.

What Is Roe v Wade?

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court in which it ruled that the Constitution of the United States generally protects a pregnant woman's right to an abortion. As a result of the ruling, many federal and state abortion laws were struck down. The abortion debate has continued in the United States about whether or to what extent abortion should be legal, who should decide whether or not abortion is legal, and how to address moral and religious beliefs in public debate. The case also sparked debate regarding the appropriate method of constitutional adjudication for the Supreme Court [1].

Using the pseudonym Jane Roe, Norma McCorvey brought the complaint in 1969 when she became pregnant with her third child. McCorvey wanted an abortion, but she lived in Texas, where abortion is illegal except in cases of emergency. So her attorneys, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court on her behalf against her local district attorney, Henry Wade, alleging that Texas's abortion laws are unconstitutional [2].

The Overturning Of Roe v Wade: How Will It Impact Women In The U.S.?

In the words of President Joe Biden, this decision was a "tragic blunder" that had set the nation back 150 years. A report indicating that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade leaked to the press in early May. Pro-choice advocates and women's rights organisations decried the judgment, calling it "a horrifying decision with devastating consequences." According to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights advocacy group, 26 of the 50 states are certain or likely to ban abortion. In at least 13 states, the law is expected to take effect immediately [3][4].

In many parts of the United States, pregnant women and health workers who seek abortion services may increasingly be subject to criminal sanctions for accessing abortion even in the early stages of pregnancy. As a result of these criminal laws, marginalised individuals, such as low-income women and women of colour, who have limited resources to seek safe and legal services, will be subject to greater criminalisation. Some women may be able to travel or obtain medication for abortion, but this would not be an option for all women.

The ruling on Friday sheds light on the abortion laws in other countries, including India, where abortion has been permitted under certain conditions for over fifty years [5].

Abortion Laws In India

Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code criminalises the intentional infliction of miscarriage if the ActAct is not done in good faith to save the woman's life [6].

Women do not have an absolute right to abortion under the law. In certain circumstances, abortion is permitted upon medical advice.

There are several circumstances in which abortion is permissible:

  • The continuation of the pregnancy would pose a grave threat to the health and life of the pregnant woman.
  • There is a substantial risk that the child will suffer from such physical or mental disabilities as severely handicapped upon birth.

As a matter of law, the Act does not stipulate that women who elect to have an abortion must be married. Similarly, no conditions are stipulated about spousal consent in the case of a married woman.

In cases involving minors, the consent of the guardian is required.

Story first published: Tuesday, June 28, 2022, 22:02 [IST]
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