Indian Court Affirms Right to Survival in Childbirth
April 15, 2012 | From the field | Population & Reproductive Health

The High Court of Madhya Pradesh passed a landmark final judgment in a case filed by MacArthur grantee the Socio Legal Information Centre, recognizing that a woman's right to survive pregnancy and childbirth is fundamental and protected under the Indian Constitution. The case was filed in 2008 as part of a national effort to use strategic litigation as a means of addressing India's high maternal mortality and morbidity; it sought accountability for the government's failure to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of pregnant women. The Court ordered the immediate implementation of the National Rural Health Mission with a focus on strengthening infrastructure and providing access to timely maternal health services, skilled personnel, effective referral, and grievance redress mechanisms. The Court order is applicable in Madhya Pradesh, whose 73 million residents make it India's third most populous state.

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