Centre for Justice, Law and Society, “Legal Regulation of Abortion in India: Complexities and Challenges” Advocay Manual Launch

Centre for Justice, Law and Society, “Legal Regulation of Abortion in India: Complexities and Challenges” Advocay Manual Launch

A group of nine people standing in a room holding up the manual at the launch of the advocacy manual on the legal regulation of abortion in India.

On May 12, 2023, Centre for Justice, Law and Society launched their advocacy manual titled “Legal Regulation of Abortion in India: Complexities and Challenges”, in collaboration with Rising Flame, Common Health, and the Center for Reproductive Rights. The manual aims to address the complexities and challenges surrounding abortion laws in India. Following the launch, a panel discussion moderated by Nidhi Goyal, Founder & Executive Director of Rising Flame, took place. The panel included Vrinda Grover, Advocate at the Supreme Court; Dhrubo Jyoti, Editor-Views at HhtTweets; and Krishanu, Former SAFE Fellow at The YP Foundation. Vrinda Grover emphasised the manual’s forward-looking approach and the importance of intersectionality in discussing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally. She highlighted societal prejudices against abortion and the need for a nuanced understanding of laws such as Section 19 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Dhrubo Jyoti emphasised the media’s role in understanding and addressing the barriers marginalised communities face regarding SRHR. He called for greater attention to be paid to the social context in which laws are made and whose views are considered in policy drafting. Nidhi added to the discussion, “Disabled individuals are seen as childlike. Decisions about their reproductive health are made for them by the family and the larger society.”

Nidhi Goyal and others seated in front of a zoom screen participating in the panel discussion. Nidhi is moderating the discussion while seated in the centre, with panellists Vrinda Grover on the left and Dhrubo Jyoti and Krishanu on the right.

The chief guest of the event was Hon’ble Justice Gita Mittal, Former Chief Justice, of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, and former Acting Chief Justice, of Delhi High Court. She emphasised the need to integrate topics like sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) into daily legal and judicial conversations. She advocated for the inclusion of reproductive justice courses in law schools and stressed the importance of shifting focus from mere family planning to comprehensive reproductive justice. Justice Mittal highlighted barriers to accessing safe abortion, including societal stereotypes, lack of information, fear of ostracization, and inadequate healthcare infrastructure. She called for a rights-based approach, telemedicine, and task sharing to improve accessibility to safe abortion services and underscored the importance of integrating reproductive health into school and college curricula.