The Supreme Court, in K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, recognized the concept of 'bodily integrity' as an element of the right to privacy. At the same time, the Supreme Court and High Courts have been witnessing individual petitions for the right to seek abortion beyond 20 weeks- including those by minor rape victims. These petitions bring to light several criticisms of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The criticisms may be science-based (progress in medical science may allow for later-term safe abortions), ethics-based (the decision-making in the Act is not centred around the woman seeking abortion) or constitutional (the Act excessively restricts bodily intergrity). The Surrogacy Bill, 2016 raises similar questions about the right of women to enjoy autonomy in reproductive decisions that affect their bodies.
In the next edition of Vidhi Dialogues, three women- an academic, an advocate and a medical practitioner come together to deliberate on the issue of reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity. The discussion will centre around the intersection between legal, ethical and medical frameworks on the issue of reproductive rights.
Ms. Anubha Rastogi is a Mumbai-based lawyer with 14 years of experience in litigation on issues of human rights violation as well as in advocacy, research and policy-making. She has worked extensively on issues of women's rights including sexual and reproductive health from a rights-based point of view.
Dr. Aparna Chandra is an Assistant Professor of Law and Research Director at the Centre for Constitutional Law, Policy and Governance at National Law University, Delhi. She is currently collaborating with the Centre for Reproductive Rights, New York, on a manual on Reproductive Rights in India. She has previously co-taught a course in collaboration with Cornell Law School on Surrogacy Law and Practice.
Dr. Suneeta Mittal is Director & HoD of Obsretics & Gynecology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute. She has worked in this field for more than 42 years, including pioneering work in introducing Emergency Contraception in India, issuance of guidelines on safe abortions, and a collaboration with the Indian Government and UNICEF on Minimum Standards for Mother Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. She previously served as Director-in-Charge, WHO-CCR in Human Reproduction, AIIMS, New Delhi for more than 12 years and as short-term consultant for WHO and UNFPA for reproductive health issues at several countries.
The dialogue is scheduled for 13th October, at 6.30 p.m., at the India International Centre, Lecture Room I, Annexe.
For admission to the event, we will prioritise guests who have registered. You can register for the event here.
We look forward to seeing you!