Reproductive Right! Her Prerogative!
Every individual has the right to have children by choice and not by chance. When we look around our social circle we come across many girls who get married at a young age. There is a social pressure in the Indian society that women should bear a child early after her marriage. Child-bearing is not a cake walk. A woman should be mentally prepared to become a mother and also she must be fit enough physically. It’s a known fact that during adolescence young girls are immature and are not fit enough to bear a child.
In a way, these social pressures are violation of human rights. Every woman has a right to plan her child-bearing period. Planning includes the delay of her first child and also the spacing between subsequent childbirth. This right must be free from discrimination and coercion. In the Indian society, women are posed with frequent questions about her pregnancy soon after her marriage. Sometimes delay in pregnancy leads to a rise of doubts regarding her fertility. Fearing this couples often end up in unwanted pregnancies. Deciding when to have a child is a private right and it has to be decided by the husband and wife instead of the society. The society has no role to play in this. Couples of this generation decide to have children based on their monetary capacity, financial stability and their professional goals.
A friend of mine got married in the third year of her bachelor degree and at that time of her marriage she was just 19. She planned to pursue her studies even after marriage, but at the commencement of the fourth year, she had to skip her classes due to her pregnancy. Consequently, she was lacking attendance due to which she was prohibited to write her exams. In filing a case in the court against the institution to get re-admitted to this course, she lost one precious academic year. Later on during her practice as an advocate she had to sacrifice her profession for the sake of her family. There are many such women who either give up either their profession or their education, like her. In most cases these situations could be averted by exercising women’s right to plan her pregnancy. Women too have an equal right to hone in their profession. Moreover, there is a rise in the divorce rate among married youths. It would be appropriate to delay the childbirth during the initial years of marriage as divorce of parents have a serious impact on the mental health of the child. Also, nowadays many couples want to delay childbirth for better understanding between them, which should be appreciated rather than accused. Because…Her Body! Her Child! Her Right! — About the Author: The article has been contributed by our intern, Lavanya Narayanan.