Marital rape victims can now abort, read salient features

Marital rape has been a very serious issue since ages, there has been a strange feeling among married men that they have the right to force a wife into bed irrespective of her liking, dislike, and mood share. Men even forget that the woman going through the monthly difficult days. Women are left with no other option to give in. They have no place to protest. This is a problem with average household. The problem gets bigger when the woman is forced into sex, gets pregnant but doesn’t want to remain in the relationship as she hates the man for many reasons. She can’t go for a divorce being pregnant.

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday in a landmark ruling said that all women are entitled to safe and legal abortion till 24 weeks of pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. The Apex court maintained that any distinction on the basis of their marital status is “constitutionally unsustainable”.

The top court also said that the meaning of offence of rape must include marital rape for the purpose of the MTP Act. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, JB Pardiwala and AS Bopanna said the rights of reproductive autonomy give similar rights to unmarried women as that to married women.

The bench, in its verdict, said the distinction between married and unmarried women under the abortion laws is “artificial and constitutionally unsustainable” and perpetuates the stereotype that only married women are sexually active. Under the MTP Act provisions, the upper limit for the termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks for married women, special categories including survivors of rape and other vulnerable women such as the differently-abled and minors.

There is a fear of rapists misusing the provision as ‘all women’ implies to both willing and unwilling to abort. It would have been better had there been some provision of getting a nod of the girl if she is willing to abort or not. Also, then the girl would have been able to vent out her frustration and anger if she was compelled to accept abortion. However, the ruling over marital rapes, is commendable, and it should have been included long back as many females face in India are compelled to face the marital rape day in and day out. This would help the hapless women to raise their voices and protest against the sexual atrocities.

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