PRE MARITAL PREGNANCY AND ABORTION

The physical expression of sexuality is fundamental and universal. What differs is how cultures,
religions and societies construe and influence both the setting in which sexual intercourse between
men and women occurs and the types of relationships in which pregnancy is encouraged or
discouraged. Most societies and most religions approve of sexual intercourse and childbearing only
within marriage. Sexual intercourse at quite young ages—as part of or apart from marriage—is
common in many countries, developed and developing alike.
The premarital sexual behaviour of Asian, Middle Eastern and North African women is largely
undocumented. In these regions, a young woman having sexual intercourse before marriage would
challenge strongly held social and religious values, and national surveys typically do not ask
questions on this topic. However, this makes it all the more likely that a woman who breaks the
taboo against premarital sexual intercourse will feel compelled to seek an abortion if she becomes
pregnant.
P1-BO187_FALSPR_G_20131129195251


Involuntary sexual intercourse- Women are sometimes coerced into having sexual intercourse,
especially if they are young, poor, uneducated or of low social status. Even in the absence of physical
force, women with no social or economic power often are unable to refuse the sexual advances of men
who have power over them—employers, landlords, creditors, men of higher status or much older men,
for example. And among women of all social classes, sexual coercion within marriage has begun to
receive increased attention.
Studies in India have found that unmarried (mostly young) abortion seekers are more likely than
married abortion seekers to be illiterate or poorly educated and to belong to a lower socioeconomic
group. Moreover, the pregnancies of a significant minority of unmarried abortion seekers had resulted
from forced sexual encounters, sometimes with a family member. Decision making is one of the least
studied aspects of abortion-seeking behaviour, and the sparse evidence suggests that for unmarried
young women, the mother is usually the primary decision maker regarding abortion, with the partner
and the father being far less involved. Indeed, few partners were found to assist young women in
obtaining an abortion, and the pregnancy was often hidden from the father for fear of physical violence.
Stigma is another major factor in getting an abortion: Pregnancy among the unmarried is so stigmatized
that it is perceived to ruin a family’s reputation, and in extreme cases, suicide is perceived at the family
and societal levels as an option for pregnant, unmarried young women.
Given all of these obstacles, young women experience delays in recognizing pregnancy, obtaining
their family’s permission, accumulating resources to pay for the abortion and choosing a
provider. Indeed, the initial response to a missed menstrual period may be an attempt to “bring on” the
delayed period with medicine from a local chemist or with home remedies (e.g., eating unripe papaya or
drinking a brew made from peppercorn, papaya seeds and coffee), thereby further delaying the abortion.
Some evidence suggests that adolescents are also more likely than older women to seek repeat
abortions.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of India clearly mentions the conditions under
which only a pregnancy can be ended or the foetus aborted, the persons who are qualified to
conduct the abortion and the place of implementation. The grounds, thus, for conducting an
abortion as interpreted from the Indian MTP Act are:
1. A pregnancy may be terminated by a registered medical practitioner:
(a) where the length of the pregnancy does not exceed twelve weeks if such medical practitioner is
Of opinion, formed in good faith, that;
(i) the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of
grave injury to her physical or mental health ; or
(ii) there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or
mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped
However, when the pregnancy exceeds 12 weeks but is below 20 weeks, the consultation of two
registered medical practitioners is required.
2. A pregnancy occurring as a result of rape
3. Failure of contraceptive device used by a couple.
Here it is to be noted that mental health will include the mental trauma which a girl has to go
through if she gives birth to a child before marriage and suffers social rejection and abuse.
Consent of the following kinds is required before a legal abortion by an approved practitioner
can be conducted on a pregnant female:
 If married— her own written consent. Husband’s consent not needed.
 If unmarried and above 18years —her own written consent.
 If below 18 years —written consent of her guardian.
 If mentally unstable — written consent of her guardian.
I would conclude by stating that there is wide gap between the mindset of parents and children,
which makes it difficult to discuss or even tell parents about pre marital intercourse or pregnancy.
This can lead to wrong and disastrous decisions taken by the child alone. So there is a need for
more friendly relations. Pre-marital pregnancy is an issue which is a taboo, it is not talked about
although it exists but the society is yet not open to accept it.

By-Karishma