One Stop Centres: A well intentioned Scheme gone awry?

By Ria Goyal, Ambedkar University, Delhi.

The One Stop Centre Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. One Stop Centres set up under this initiative  are to be funded from the INR 1000 Crore Nirbhaya Fund which was set up in 2013 to fund various schemes related to women’s safety. These OSCs are meant to provide integrated support and assistance under one roof, to women who have experienced violence in the public or private spheres like family, community or workspace. The violence can be of any kind, including physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economic abuse, and women are to be provided integrated support regardless of their age, class, caste, education status, marital status, race, and culture. Such support includes access to a range of services like medical, legal, psychological and counseling support. Further, women facing violence in the form of attempted sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, honor related crimes, acid attacks or witch-hunting, who approach the OSC, are entitled to the provision of specialized services. (more…)

Surrogacy Bill 2019

Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019: An ambiguous approach to an apparent problem?

By Tanu Singh, Ramjas College, New Delhi.

Surrogacy, a highly controversial issue beset with many ethical, social, and legal dilemmas, has finally met its fate in the light of the new regulation Bill passed by the Indian government. On August 5, Lok Sabha passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 which was introduced by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan on 15th July and is still up for passage in the Upper House. (more…)

Medical Termination of Pregnancy: A Woman’s Body but a Woman’s Choice?

By Lakshmi Kailasan, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, New Delhi.

Medical termination of pregnancy which is more commonly addressed as abortion, may be defined in medical terms as the premature exit of the products from the uterus. To explain it in simple terms, it is the removal of an unwanted foetus. Going back in time to reflect on the status of abortion, it was punishable under the Indian Penal Code thereby suggesting the complete infringement of a woman’s right to life and personal liberty guaranteed by the State under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Prior to 1972, not only did the penalizing lead to violation of the law but also resulted in unsafe abortions being conducted by untrained medical practitioners, a problem which to some extent exists even in today’s time. (more…)

“Period” of Change: Acknowledging the Right to Menstrual Health

By Tanya Chandra, Founder, LexQuest Foundation.

It can’t be stressed enough that menstruation is a mere biological phenomenon, so why does it bother a society so much that we need policies for menstruating women? To answer the aforementioned, one has to acknowledge the closely knit cultural and social spaces along with the psycho-social contexts in which women attain puberty and go on to menstruate for the better part of their teenage, adolescence and adult lives. (more…)