India Uncut

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

That womb is mine

PTI reports:
A man has moved the Allahabad High Court challenging his wife's right to abortion on the grounds of being physically unfit to deliver a baby.

He argued that his consent should be taken before any move by her in this regard.


He said the concept of fatherhood was similar to the concept of motherhood and the consent of the father must be made mandatory.

"The moment a woman conceives, the right of the father begins," said the petitioner, adding it would amount to violation of Article 21 (Right to Life and Liberty) of the Constitution if the wife went ahead with abortion.

I am disgusted by this argument. If a woman wants to have an abortion, no one has a right to stop her. This illustrates what I'd written about here and here: too many Indian men still think of women as property. I wouldn't be surprised if they started getting them insured. Rape insurance, anyone?

Update: Two quotable responses have hit my inbox in response to this post. First, Ashish Hanwadikar writes:
Granted that womb belongs to the woman. But what about the unborn child? Or even that is a property of the woman and she can decide to dispose of her property as she see fit?

Could you care to explain how can one person come to have absolute property rights over another person?

This takes us into the knotty area of definitions: is a foetus a person? If so – and that question is at the heart of the debate over abortion – then the debate over whether a husband has a right to stop his wife from having an abortion is moot, because an abortion itself would be morally wrong. If not, then Ashish's question is wrong.

Indraneel Kanaglekar raises the question:
[L]et's say she decides not to abort, and the "father" wants her to, is he liable for supporting the kid? If yes, why?

Whether the father is liable for supporting the child is dependent on a lot of other external factors, but his wanting to abort the kid, in my mind, would not remove any responsibility off his shoulders, because he fathered the child in the first place.

Sigh, what a mess. Just use condoms, ok?
amit varma, 3:04 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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