- The Roe v. Wade historic ruling from 1973 was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022, ending the women’s right to an abortion.
- The ruling was dubbed a “tragic blunder” and a “sad day” for the court and the nation by President Joe Biden.
- India’s liberal stance on abortion is a solace in a time of frightening outrage on social media and in the streets against the nearly complete prohibition of abortion in the West.
- Let’s examine the foundation of India’s attempts to promote women’s liberty and empowerment in many contexts. But first, we need to comprehend the Western world’s historic choice.
What Resolution Has the United States Supreme Court Made?
- Roe v. Wade, a 1973 precedent-setting ruling granting women in America the ability to undergo an abortion before the foetus is viable outside the womb – before the 24-28 week point — has been overruled by the SC.
- SC also overruled the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which supported Roe.
- Women have had access to abortion rights for more than two generations, but now each State will decide on them.
- The Court stated, “Abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, and no fundamental provision implicitly protects such a right.”
How Might This Choice Affect Women’s Lives?
- Growing number of “Unwanted Pregnancies”
- Unwanted pregnancies unpredictably restrict parents’, particularly women’, life options and may stunt their mental health and personal development.
- Children that are unwanted at birth may also have less possibilities. WHO links greater parental involvement in their children’s education to a higher possibility of children being born “desired,” as an example.
- Abortion law is currently a matter for each state. The majority of US states are likely to restrict or outright prohibit access to abortion.
- Psychological Effect: Women who were refused the option of having an abortion were more likely to continue communicating with a violent spouse and ultimately raise the child by themselves.
- Higher levels of anxiety and despair have also been linked to being denied an abortion.
- Compared to women who had abortions, women who were refused them were more likely to be unemployed.
- Alternatives that are more dangerous: The World Health Organization (WHO) admits that legal limits on abortion do not stop the practise. Instead, they pressure women to use riskier abortion procedures.
What other problems does a woman encounter in our world?
- The stigma of patriarchy
- In an established social order where men rule over others, the term “patriarchy” can also refer to male control over women in particular.
- It depicts women as being less intelligent, emotionally, physically, and sexually than men.
- Women are not viewed as intelligent or as capable of making decisions. They are denied the chance to demonstrate their talent as a result of this undervaluation, which lowers their confidence and decreases their production.
- It entails parents having more children than they want until the desired number of males are born, which is bad for women’s health.
- This meta-preference inevitably results in the global category of “unwanted” girls.
- As a result, the food and health needs of girls and women are disregarded. The majority of them are malnourished and anaemic.
- Poor parents are eager to marry off their daughters as soon as possible since they are considered as a burden. Early pregnancy results from child marriages.
- Early childbirth prevents the mother from pursuing her own higher education and career goals.
Pay Disparity Does Not Exist:
- The gender pay gap is the difference in pay between men and women who work for a living.
- In the entire world, women only make 77 cents for every dollar that men make. As a result, men and women have a lifelong income gap, and more women are retiring in poverty.
- The so-called “motherhood penalty,” which forces women into the informal sector, casual employment, and part-time employment, is more prevalent in developing nations than it is in industrialised nations.
Political and Judicial Representation:
- According to data gathered by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which India is a member of, women make up 14.44 percent of all Lok Sabha members.
- Women’s representation in the Lok Sabha has not even risen by 10% in the past 75 years of independence.
- Only 11.5 percent of judges in High Courts are women, whereas 4/33 of the Supreme Court’s incumbent judges are female.
- The position for female attorneys in the nation is not much better. Only 15% of the 1.7 million registered advocates are women.
- A glass ceiling is when a qualified individual who wishes to move up the organisational hierarchy is prevented from doing so at a higher level owing to prejudice, most frequently based on sexism or racism.
- Because they are perceived as inferior or unqualified for the position due to social stigmas of the society, female employees are rarely given consideration for promotions above a specific grade.
What advancements in women’s welfare has India made?
Act of 2021 to Modify Medical Termination of Pregnancy:
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, was amended by the 2021 Act.
Gestational Limit Increase:
- Up to 24 weeks of pregnancy may be aborted for reasons including danger to the mother’s life, mental agony, rape, incest, failure of contraception, or the presence of abnormalities in the foetus.
The Bill of 2021 to Prohibit Child Marriage (Amendment):
- The goal is to raise the marriage age for women from 18 to 21.
- Justifications for the Minimum Age
- In early pregnancy, hunger, and violence due to child marriages (mental, emotional, and physical).
- Early pregnancy has an impact on the mother’s health and is linked to higher rates of infant mortality.
- The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021 forbids couples who are not of Indian descent from obtaining surrogacy in the nation and only permits residents with legitimate medical conditions that call for gestational surrogacy to do so.
- A couple, defined as a lawfully married woman and man, or a woman who is a widow or a divorcee between the ages of 35 and 45 may choose to use a surrogate if they have a medical condition that calls for it.
- Additionally, commercial surrogacy is prohibited and is subject to a fine of up to Rs. 10 lakhs and a 10-year prison sentence.
The Janani Suraksha Yojana
- It is under the National Health Mission’s category of safe motherhood interventions (NHM).
- No of the mother’s age or the number of children, eligible pregnant women are entitled to financial support for giving birth in a public or accredited private health institution.
The LaQshya initiative seeks to promote respectful maternity care while reducing unnecessary maternal and newborn mortality, morbidity, and stillbirths linked to the care provided during delivery in labour rooms and maternity operating rooms (OT).
Campaign for “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”:
- Avoiding sex-selective elimination with gender bias.
- ensuring the girl child’s survival and protection.
- ensuring that girls receive an education and may participate.
- defending the rights of young girls.
Criminalising Triple Talaq:
- Any “talaq” declaration made to a Muslim wife by her husband in any way—spoken or written—will be void and forbidden.
- Muslim husbands who verbally or in writing announce the “talaq” risk up to three years in prison. It’s also possible to increase the sentence.
- The woman and her children are entitled to a living allowance if a Muslim man pronounces “talaq” to his wife. A Judicial Magistrate of the First Class may decide on such a sum.
How can we guarantee the holistic development of women?
- Under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, the Puttaswamy decision particularly recognised the fundamental right of women to choose their own reproductive methods.
- To elevate the status of women in society, these rights should be effectively monitored and executed on a global scale.
- It’s important for society to challenge the notion that women are exclusively capable of domestic work.
- All institutions (the state, the family, and the community) must address the unique needs of women by closing educational inequalities, redefining gender roles and the gendered distribution of labour, and combating prejudice.
Reservation for Women in Panchayati Raj Institutions:
- Article 243D of the Constitution mandates that not less than one-third of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election be reserved for women, ensuring their participation in Panchayati Raj Institutions.
- Such reservations ought to be implemented effectively.
- Women Quotas in Political Parties:
- In order for recognised political parties to continue to be recognised by the Election Commission as such, it is suggested by the Indian Election Commission that a minimum agreed-upon percentage of women be included in State Assembly and Parliamentary elections.
Reservation in the Judiciary:
- According to CJI N. V. Ramana, “having women as judges and attorneys will significantly improve the justice delivery system.”
- In order to meet this goal, there should be a reserve for women in law schools, which will increase the number of female attorneys who can ultimately serve as Supreme Court judges.