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Tue Aug 8

Accessible abortion

Safe abortion services should be made a reality for women in our country

In India, the liberalization of law to facilitate access to safe abortion services began in 1964, under the aegis of the Shantilal Shah Committee. Doctors frequently came across women who had taken recourse to unsafe abortions, because of legal barriers.

Under the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, both the woman and the abortionist could be punished, unless the pregnancy posed a grave threat to the life of the woman. After an exhaustive review of national and international evidence, the committee submitted its recommendations in 1966 for legalizing abortion.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act passed almost five decades ago, put India in the league of 15 other countries to legalize induced abortion for a broad range of conditions.