Here’s what Deeksha Kathayat has to say about abortion, in her article – Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Act, 1971 And Baby Genocide.
Recently on 21st September 2018, our college organized a seminar on contemporary laws. The guest speaker was CEO of RESCUE foundation Abhishek Clifford who spoke about various issues over which people generally hesitate to talk about, like PORN POISON, HOMOSEXUALITY AND many more….
But one topic that he spoke about and explained the obscured side of the issue that changed almost everyone’s thinking about the issue was about Baby Genocide and Abortions. And yes, the seminar indeed changed the way I used to think about the topic and I was drawn into writing about this issue.
Looking into the past
It is well-known fact that earlier abortion was legally, socially and morally acceptable due to which if a woman had to abort she was forced to go to inexperienced third person and not doctors. As a result, the mortality rate was extremely high.
Then in 1966 to reduce maternal mortality due to abortions SHANTILAL SHAH COMMITTEE recommended that the abortion law should be liberalized in India. And considering the recommendations made by the committee medical termination bill was introduced in the Parliament in 1969 and which was passed by the Parliament in August 1971.
Today majority of the countries in the world have their laws structured in the way that legalizes abortion. And this may be the reason that we as a young generation were never critical of the process of abortion we are bombarded today from all times may it be in television, films and other social media like youtube videos and Facebook that its OHK its woman and her body and she has a choice to whether have the baby or not.
Well but the reality is far away from what is shown in those films/youtube videos. It is quite easy for them to show that a young woman can easily go to a hospital and abort the baby if she is not willing to have it. Nowhere it is shown or question comes that whether it is legal or not to abort a baby except in accordance with the reasons mentioned in the medical termination act, 1971.
Of course, no doubt they do show that under 18 years it is illegal but they rarely show that even if she is above 18 years, it is illegal to abort if your reasons are not covered by the provisions mentioned in the MTP, 1971 act or you give some other specific valid reasons and in case of below 18 consent.
Important things to know about MTP, 1971
The Medical Termination Act clearly states that medical termination is legal ONLY in certain cases.
The preamble of the act states that “an Act to provide for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.
The only cases in which medical termination is allowed is very well specified in the act itself.
Section 3 – states the ground for termination of pregnancy
1. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), a registered medical practitioner shall not be guilty of any offence under that Code or under any other law for the time being in force, if any pregnancy is terminated by him in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
2. Subject to the provisions of sub-section (4), a pregnancy may be terminated by a registered medical practitioner, –
(a) where the length of the pregnancy does not exceed twelve weeks, if such medical practitioner is, or
(b) where the length of the pregnancy exceeds twelve weeks but does not exceed twenty weeks, if not less than two registered medical practitioners are, of opinion, formed in good faith, that-
(i) the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health; or
(ii) there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.
Explanation 1. Where any pregnancy is alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, the anguish caused by such pregnancy shall be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.
Explanation 2. Where any pregnancy occurs as a result of the failure of any device or method used by any married woman or her husband for the purpose of limiting the number of children, the anguish caused by such unwanted pregnancy may be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.
(3) In determining whether the continuance of a pregnancy would involve such risk of injury to the health as is mentioned in sub-section (2), account may be taken to the pregnant woman’s actual or reasonably foreseeable environment.
(4) (a) No pregnancy of a woman, who has not attained the age of eighteen years, or, who, having attained the age of eighteen years, is a [mentally ill person], shall be terminated except with the consent in writing of her guardian.
(b) Save as otherwise provided in clause (a), no pregnancy shall be terminated except with the consent of the pregnant woman.
In short, a rape victim, married women or the child if born will be handicapped or physically and mentally challenged will be allowed to terminate her pregnancy. Also, what is important to note is that the medical termination can only be performed up to 20 weeks of conception.
Discretion of the doctor
A woman can undergo abortion only with the consent of the doctor. It is not the discretion of the woman. Also, if the abortion is to take place within 12 weeks then only consent of one doctor is required but if it is to take between the duration of 12 to 24 weeks, she needs two doctors to sign off.
Lacuna in the law
Despite the law coming into force, the maternal mortality rate has not reduced. The main object for which the committee proposed for this act, it’s unfortunate that we are unable to achieve it. According to WHO report, 1990 in developing countries half of the abortions are been done by unauthorized persons.
In India, illegal abortions are performed more frequently even today in spite of liberalization of the MTP ACT, 1971. Unfortunately, the decline in illegal abortions that we have expected after this law has not taken place.
It is estimated by the WHO in it’s 1994 report that in the Indian subcontinent 15-24 unsafe abortions take place per 1000 women aged 15-49 years. It is estimated that in India 70-89 women per 100,000 live births die from unsafe abortion, the risk of death is 1 in 250 procedures. A study on illegal abortion in rural areas, conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) revealed that the extent of illegal abortion (13.5 per 1,000 pregnancies) in comparison with legal abortion (6.1 per 1,000 pregnancies) was still quite high and the trend in the past 17 years (1972-1989) could not show a tendency for illegal abortion to decline (ICMR, 1989).
In a series of 950 septic abortions, 6.47 per cent i.e. 64 per 1000 cases died. The common causes of death are peritonitis, septicaemia, endotoxic shock, haemorrhage and tetanus.
It is really disappointing that abortion service is not always accessible and available to the women. Quality care such as proper pre-operative check-up and follow-up are essential for preventing complications. Doctors should play a very important role in counselling the pregnant woman regarding her own health and the health of the foetus. A balanced view and proper counselling in the part of the doctor can help the woman to take care of herself and avoid conflicts of thoughts and various other complications.
From the above facts, it is quite clear that there is some lacuna in the law which needs immediate attention and rectification. The legislators should try to reduce the instances of illegal abortions by proper legislation and by increasing availability of proper and authorized abortion centres and services.
Abortion in teens and young adults
Due to many factors, like sexual fantasies, attraction to the opposite sex, lack of sex education and also media influence the young people are involved in teenage sex, premarital sex, much more than in the past. There is a lack of proper counselling, sex education and adolescent health care as a result of which pregnancy among teens are on the rise.
Due to westernization, there is a constant bombarding to teens that its OHK to have fun before marriage and everyone should try before getting committed and that it’s normal and its modern way of thinking. Any kind of restraints to such thinking is regarded as backward and not acceptable. Also, you believe it or not teens and young adults they are more carefree because many are aware of the MTP act and they know that if anything goes wrong there is always an option of abortion. For them, people against abortion or pre-marital indulgence are way too…. Old fashioned and traditional thinking people who come in their way of exercising their freedom to their fullest.
I once saw a video where a reporter asks a girl “is right to kill a child through abortion?” she said why not it’s the women choice whether she wants a child or not, moreover she contended that child in the womb feels no pain during the abortion.
My question is simple why should the child suffer because of the promiscuous relation of their parents? Why teens and adults don’t understand that going for an abortion is literally killing the baby for no reason at all but just to correct their mistakes which the parents made. According to me, it’s clear-cut baby genocide. When westernization, modernization and enjoying your life to the fullest takeaway someone’s life it’s not modern or fun or cool anymore. Well those who are against contraceptives and those who think that abortions are fine these things generally happen for them I would like to elaborate the procedure of abortion.
When does life begin?
As stated above the girl said to the reporter that they do not feel anything during the abortion as life has not begun actually. I would like to answer the question as to when does the life begin? Many say that if the baby is terminated in the initial weeks itself, it is just the skin and bones. Well, it is actually not so. Abortion is not so easy as just removing the tonsils or appendix from a body, it is cruel than that. It is like amputation of the baby inside the mother’s womb.
Also, what people forget is that contraceptives are only 75% safe in a one-year relationship and as a result of the failure of the contraceptives 9 lakhs baby are aborted in India itself every month. If this is not genocide then what is?
We all know that no mother will throw or kill a newborn baby but what about the unborn baby? This is the photo of 3 months old baby. Does it look like a baby to you or it is still a lifeless mould of skin and bones who can be removed from the body just because you decided to have sex before marriage and accidentally got pregnant.
Abhishek Clifford during his seminar told us an incident where an unmarried woman, 3-month old went to a Bangalore Hospital and asked the doctor, is the baby alive? The doctor said just like a newborn baby it has life because the first thing that starts to function is the heart, and we all know when the heart stops we say that the person is dead so similarly when we say the heart is beating are we not talking about life or that the baby is alive.
- PILLS – The easy way and the method which is used for abortion during initial weeks is through pills. Pills can be used till seven or nine weeks. Now there are two to three types of pills for abortion. Now, how do these pills work? The pill goes inside the mother’s bloodstream and it causes the blood vessels supplying blood to the baby to close and the supply of oxygen to the baby is cut down and as a result, the baby dies. It literally means strangulating the baby inside the womb. This is what one type of pill does. The other type of pill will cause labour pain and the uterus will be under pressure and the baby which is of three months old is not strong enough to bear the pressure so his ribs, the skull will be crushed and he will come out looking like this.
You must have seen cartoons where two walls are coming towards each other and still Tom and Jerry come out alive from it without getting crushed but just imagine this is what exactly is done to babies and they get crushed and come out dead and crushed. Here is the picture of how a baby looks after the pill is used for the abortion.
Salt poisoning – Earlier salt poisoning was used but now it’s not used. In this, after four months the mother was injected with the strong salt solution into the baby’s sac. The solution causes the outer layer of the skin to burn off, and within 24 hours the mother gives birth to her dead and burned baby. This is how the baby looks like.
How doctors do abortions?
There are two methods 1. DNA METHOD and the other one is 2. DNC method. DNC is from 6 weeks to three months and DNA is from 3 months to 5 months.
Before DNA was more common but now it has reduced however DNC is still used.
In DNC what they will do is they will put a knife inside and begin to scrape out the foetus piece by piece its skin, its tummy, its face. But then in this process, there is 30% chance of infertility.
In DNA as you can see the picture below here in this stage the bones are too well formed for him to choose a knife that the doctor will use forceps. He would put the forceps inside the mother’s womb and he will grab the baby’s leg and will twist it off the baby’s leg and will rip off the leg of the live baby and he will do the same for every other part of the baby.
There is a saying in Hinduism that “shishu hatiya is maha paap” i.e. that is killing a child is the gravest sin. And I hope that after reading the facts and procedures adults and teens will give more weightage to life than to enjoyment or experiments.
By – Deeksha Kathayat
D.Y. Patil College Of Law, Nerul
- Medical termination of pregnancy act, 1971
- Abhishek Clifford’s presentations
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