The court also said that that law cannot be static and should be evolved with changing times, adding that non-traditional relationships, like live-in, should be recognised under the law.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, JB Pardiwala and AS Bopanna delivered the verdict on the interpretation of the MTP Act, and whether unmarried or single women can be allowed like their married counterparts the benefit of abortion up to 24 weeks.
The top court said the distinction between married and unmarried women under the abortion laws is “artificial and constitutionally unsustainable” and perpetuates the stereotype that only married woman are sexually active.
Though the Supreme Court is yet to adjudicate on marital rape, for the first time the court recognised it for the purpose of unwanted pregnancy under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act.
It added that distinction between the married and unmarried perpetuates stereotype that only married women are sexually active.
On August 23, the apex court had said it would interpret Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and the rules to eliminate the discrimination between married and unmarried women for allowing abortion till 24 weeks of pregnancy.
On July 21, the top court had allowed a 25-year-old to abort her 24-week pregnancy arising out of a consensual relationship.
Watch Safe Abortion Day 2022: Explained: What are women’s rights when it comes to abortion in India