Give women the choice by Devi Shetty and Sneha Iype was an interesting article in Time of India on March 31st Friday 2017. Give women the choice It was on Supreme Court verdict of turning down a request for Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) from a 27 week pregnant woman with a Down’s syndrome foetus. Many countries allow MTP even at advanced stages in case of foetal anomaly, but India does not. The most humble and humane doctor puts forth the argument that if mother feels that she can’t take care of the child with certain conditions, she should have the right to end the life within at the later stage even after 20 weeks as prescribed the law. The doctor has voiced his genuine concern very sincerely by pointing at the probable pain and suffering by both the mother and the child.
Can we decide on the life of someone else who is yet to be born? Even if mother is given the choice will it not be skewed by the societal and family more than individual? Disability is a social construct and highly contextual. Living in a society with stigma attached to disability is difficult and traumatic useless the mother’s choice will never to unbiased. Her decision making gets highly influenced by the social angle and family pressure. Moreover the medical model of locating the problem in the individual and thus perceiving that they are suffering is still prevailing at the professional level. If we start looking at disability from the human rights angle total scenario changes. Disability of the child could be a chance for deep learning in life, they may achieve if guided in the right direction, they may enjoy the life to fullest if opportunity is given or the prenatal diagnosis may turn out to be false!! (Ghai & Johri, 2008) Prenatal Diagnosis where do we draw the line?
But coming to the basic discussion when we have abolished female foeticide it is it just not to hamper the natural balance or is it valuing the nature’s choice? When our constitution has enshrined “right to living” does a child with disability do not have that right? No doubt the life span may be less but is it not better to counsel the parents and prepare them for a life than to shun away from reality? Very difficult choice indeed. But it would be great to have a conversation with children with disabilities and find out their love for life. This may give a chance to the judiciary to take a stand. In addition as a state, it would be highly appreciated if we could work towards creating a society with acceptance and embrace all- go the nature’s way. Difference is law of nature, accept all, accommodate by creating equal opportunity to nurture every individual to the extent possible. Ultimately differences are not for divide but contrast that provides synergies. Given a thought, differences should unite the family and the society.
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