[Editorial Analysis] Against her choice

Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill 2020
Mains level: Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions & Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of the Vulnerable Sections.

Context:

• Recently Rajya Sabha passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Bill 2020 despite much opposition.

Features of MTP Amendment Bill:

• It increased upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women.

• Under the bill, abortion will not be allowed at request of a pregnant women but is conditional on authorization by the doctor.

• It also allows abortions without any upper gestation limit only for “foetuses with abnormalities”.

• It also calls for mandatory setting up of Medical Boards in every State & UTs that rely on inconsistent criteria for approval of abortion.

• Identity details has of pregnancy aborted women shall not be revealed to a authorized person as per law.

Issues with MTP Bill:

• Lack of effective consultation with stakeholders.

• Lack of inclusion of transgender people within the MTP framework.

• Bill goes against the Supreme Court jurisprudence on reproductive autonomy & bodily integrity.

• Constitution of medical boards would violate privacy of women & also cause in ordinate delay.

• Bill has ignored concerns of disable persons & rural public because of its regressive & impractical provisions.

• Still, state continues to control women’s reproductive & sexual rights.

• The bill while allowing co-option of women’s rights it continues to criminalise abortion & perpetuate harmful stereotypes and stigma around reproduction & sexuality.

Conclusion:

• India largest democratic nation has to breakdown the hetero-patriarchal regulatory orientation in women’s reproductive autonomy. Even though the bill lays foundation for safe & legal abortions but it is need of the hour that bill needs to be accommodative of all stakeholders concerns and enlarge the horizon of states understanding of women issues that aids policy formation to be gender sensitive.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the “Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry (PLISFPI)”, consider the following statements:

1. The Scheme would be monitored at Centre by the Empowered Group of Secretaries chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.

2. The scheme shall be implemented through a Project Management Agency (PMA).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Critically analyse Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

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