The right to bodily autonomy and integrity is a fundamental right, and includes the right to reproductive and decisional autonomy.
Dipika Jain, Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Safe abortion ought to be considered a non-criminal healthcare procedure, accessible to everyone and decided upon between a patient and their physician. The current legal framework jeopardises the complete wellbeing of women and girls, leaving them confused, scared and unable to attain medically safe and affordable health services. In this paper, I argue that there is an urgent need for decriminalising abortions in order to allow women to have full power over the decisions regarding their health.
Criminalisation has a chilling effect on the provision of sexual and reproductive health services. Further, I argue that abortion ought to be removed from the criminal domain and be considered an issue of equal access to healthcare within a gender justice framework.. Not only do barriers to abortion access lead to unsafe abortions and high maternal mortality rates, they also place an extraordinary burden of childrearing on women.
The right to bodily autonomy and integrity is a fundamental right, and includes the right to reproductive and decisional autonomy. Additionally, if women are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, their right to equality and non-discrimination is also violated due their inability to exercise other basic rights. Decriminalisation of abortion would mean that women, girls and gender diverse people are unable to exercise all their rights freely and would specifically ensure that their right to health is fulfilled as well.
Published in: NUJS Law Review
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