Abortion[1] and is of great importance on national as

Abortion1 is a highly debated question
across the globe and is of great importance on national as well as
international levels. It has become a topic of controversial discussion
around the world.  All and sundry are in Catch-22 regarding the question whether the mother has a right to discontinue her pregnancy at her
will at any time that
she desires to or if the unborn child has the right to life.

Right to life is a very wide-ranging perception and is the most important of all. In India, right to life has been acknowledged under Article 21 of the Constitution
of India which states that “No person
shall be deprived
of his life and personal
liberty except according
to procedure established by law”2. In the
above definition a “Person” here refers to
both a man and a woman. Midst numerous rights that are accessible by a woman,
the right to terminate
pregnancy or the right of abortion is also acknowledged to be one of the most crucial
and fundamental rights. The right to
abortion of a woman has been documented under
right to privacy which is a fragment
of the right to personal
liberty which further originates from right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian
Constitution.3. However,
the dilemma continually remains that
whether a fetus i.e. the unborn child shall be regarded given the status of a ‘person’ as
interpreted under Article 21.

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There exist innumerable facets such the spiritual, ethical,
legal, social and moral values which have to be considered with regard to the slant of
Right to Abortion or termination of pregnancy in India. Discontinuance of pregnancy
or Abortion is vehemently inveighed against under all religious and spiritual beliefs and thus under
the personal laws. In spite of
such chastise the ever arising dilemma is whether the matriarch has a right of abortion or the
unborn has a right to life.

It has been manifested that an unborn child or fetus has no stake before the third
trimester4. A fetus inside the womb of the mother is unable to sense
any kind of pain until the third trimester of pregnancy i.e. not until very
late in pregnancy since the fetus’s brain is not adequately advanced until
then. Scientists have established that fetus’s brain is adequately matures to
sense discomfort only after nearly the time period twenty six weeks5
has passed. Therefore, if aborting is against the interest
of the unborn is dependent
upon the fact if at all the fetal brain has developed sufficiently to recognize pain or discomfort and not on the basis of the development that might take place in case there is no
termination of pregnancy.

1  Abortion can be classified into two
types which are
the following:

1.      Spontaneous Abortion –
An abortion which results due to the complications during pregnancy and which
occur unintentionally is called spontaneous abortion. It is also termed
as miscarriages.

Induced abortion has also been
divided into two types:

Therapeutic abortion – An abortion which is induced to preserve the health of the mother when her life is in danger or when it is found that the child if born will be a disabled one at time it is termed as therapeutic

abortion – An abortion induced for
any other reason is known as
elective abortion. Both embryo and fetus
mean unborn child.


2 Article 21, Constitution of India.

3 Roe V. Wade 410US 113(1973)


4 Ronald Dworkin-
‘not everything that
can be destroyed has an interest
in not being destroyed’


5 Clifford
Grobstein, Science and the unborn: choosing
Human futures (Basic Books, 1988)