My Body, My Choice is not just a slogan, it is a campaign started by women for their rights. Access to safe abortion is every women’s right. This campaign is a cry for freedom, for independence from all the myths and stigmas associated with abortion.
Many women hesitate in talking about abortion. This is only due to social myths and stigmas attached to abortion that force women to carry dangerous pregnancies to term or visit unqualified practitioners, putting their lives at great risk. They also face guilt and shame. Women suffer more due to lack of awareness about access to safe abortion. They are judged at every single step. All the questioning eyes stay on the women and make them feel guilty about their decision to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. 1.6 crore abortions occur in India every year and 81% of them take place at home during the first seven weeks. Many women die due to unsafe abortion practices because of the lack of awareness.
Abortion is legal in India under the MTP (Medical Termination Of Pregnancy) Act, 1971.
1. If the continuation of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant women or cause grave injury to her physical or mental health.
2. A substantial risk that the child, if born would be seriously handicapped.
3. Pregnancy is due to the failure of contraceptive in a married woman or her husband.
4. Pregnancy is caused by rape.
But, an abortion cannot solely be performed on a women’s request. It requires a registered medical practitioner for up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and another registered medical practitioner if a women’s pregnancy is between 12 – 20 weeks.
The laws need to be upgraded to provide safer abortion to women. It is high time we talk about women’s right to safe abortions. It is important because it’s My body, My choice.