MY Body My Choice

Abortion has always been a highly contentious issue in the spheres of philosophy, religion, culture and politics. However, at the core of the debate on abortion is the question: who gets to decide to terminate a pregnancy? The tension between the individual’s autonomy, communal social and religious influences and legal restrictions has always frustrated the fates of pregnant people, whose lives and bodily integrity are deeply impacted by either the continuation or termination of pregnancy. Courts have often been assigned the role of ultimate arbiter in abortion cases across the world. But courts have always had a particularly complicated response to cases in which abortion issues are raised. Whether legislation criminalises, regulates or protects access to abortion services, its effect and courts’ judgments have significant implications for pregnant persons’ right to health and their ability to live a life with dignity. In the past, underlying public moral and social contexts have often determined the direction courts have taken in dealing with cases on abortion. However with a shift towards employing a human rights-based approach when analysing access to healthcare in foreign jurisdictions, it could be argued that the role of the judiciary in matters of reproductive health and rights is shifting.