Tuesday, April 27, 2021 12:30 PM
Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs
South Asia Center Presents
Reasonableness’ in Disability Selective Abortions: Extension of Rights Proportionality for Persons with Disabilities under
the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
selective abortions are legally sanctioned in most of the world. However, this
unproblematic legal order is rendered questionable by the new rights paradigm
brought by the UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The UNCRPD necessitates all social
institutions to adhere to an equal rights paradigm. India has both signed and
ratified the Convention. However, the
Supreme Court of India has adjudicated disability selective termination for the
one fetus with disability while preferring the other without disability in a
twin pregnancy in Komal Hiwale’s case.
The apex court in its construction of a sophisticated term, “selective fetal
reduction” has permitted preference for life without disability. This talk will
explore the issues around the right of equality and non-discrimination affirmed
by the UNCRPD and the consequent domestic laws instituted in India.
Fulbright Post-Doctoral Visiting Scholar
Syracuse University College of Law
Smitha Nizar is a
Fulbright Post-Doctoral Visiting Scholar from India. In her post-doctoral
research, she examines the need to align India’s national laws with the United
Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and to
uphold the basic rights for persons with disabilities. Her previous study, The Contradiction in
Disability Law: Selective Abortions and
Rights (Oxford University Press, 2016), has highlighted the contradicting
legal order on disability-selective abortion which is discriminatory and in violation
of the international law. Dr. Nizar’s study also reveals how
disability-selective abortion is inconsistent with the UNCRPD and its
life-affirming paradigm. This research will benefit India and the United States
by urging the respective law makers to revisit the specific laws.
Prior to her
research visit to Syracuse, Dr. Nizar was teaching and practicing law in
India. She volunteers her time as the
Legal Officer of a disability rehabilitation organization, where children with
disabilities are supported and educated from the very early stages of life. She
dreams for a world where disability is accepted as a general human condition,
to treat persons with disabilities as all others.
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