The Centre of Health Law, Ethics and Technology at Jindal Global Law School, in collaboration with BehanBox had organized a webinar on “The Rhetoric of Legal Reforms: Abortion, Gender and the State” on 6th October, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. The main aim was to discuss the challenges of the proposed abortion law reforms through the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill 2020 and the proposed decriminalization of Section 312 of the IPC as part of criminal law reforms.
The Panel included Rising Flame’s Founder and Executive Director- Nidhi Goyal, Nikita Sonavane (from CPA Project), Sunita (Haryana ASHA Workers Union) and Vqueeram (from Centre of Law and Policy Research). The event was bi-lingual and was attended by 50 participants.
Nidhi Goyal started by saying that women with disabilities are not even perceived as stakeholders in the consultative process due to their apparent minority and lack of legal capacity. Also, access is the first step of participation and proactive steps are not made to make the consultative process accessible for people with disabilities. She highlighted the issues implicit or explicit in using fetal abnormality as a basis of decriminalization, which has the effect of legalizing stigma against people with disabilities in the society and in our collective imagination. She also argued that the right to choice of a woman cannot be viewed in a vacuum, but has to be situated in the context of the existing prejudices and attitudes of the society against persons with disabilities. Therefore, there is a need for informed and unbiased counselling for parents to effectuate this right. She further highlighted the issues faced by disabled women in exercising their reproductive rights due to the continuous disregard of their legal capacity, womanhood and perpetual familial control and authority. She concluded by saying that inclusion cannot be achieved without expanding our idea of access and without questioning our idea of normative motherhood and caregiving.