Article by Muskan singh at lexcliq



Foeticide or feticide is the act of killing a fetus/ Foetus ( an unborn baby ) or causing an abortion. Fetal homicides are the most common brutal crime against females in India by female feticide i.e. selective killing of female foetuses.


Definition of fetus :

The fetus is nothing but a life which exists in womb of a woman, it is yet to born but already living a life inside a mother’s womb and it has a right to live and witness the life outside the uterus.

“ A living entity that comes into being as the result of the fertilization(in vivo or in vitro) of a human egg by a sperm and that develops in the uterus of a woman or that is physically separated from a woman’s body, but is capable of surviving outside the uterus to some extent.”


Does law even consider this crime ?

Well the sections 300,302,303 of Indian Penal Code defines an act of killing a person as cognizable offence and provides life imprisonment or death sentence as a punishment for the crime, but the provisions of law don’t really have any strict actions against killing an unborn child.


Section 312 of Indian penal code defines the act of causing miscarriage and punishment of 3 years.


Section 315 of Indian penal code defines any act done with an intention to prevent a child from birth or to cause it to die after birth.

It defines infanticide ( killing of infants i.e. child from o-1 years ). Killing of female infants are common because of major concerns of dowry, rapes, poverty in India. These issues results to select sex abortions.

“Whoever before the birth of any child does any act with the intention of thereby preventing that child from being born alive or causing it to die after its birth, and does by such act prevent that child from being born alive, or causes it to die after its birth, shall, if such act be not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the mother, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both.”


Section 316 of Indian penal code states a person liable for causing death of quick unborn child by act amounting to culpable homicide.

“Whoever does any act under such circum­stances, that if he thereby caused death he would be guilty of culpable homicide, and does by such act cause the death of a quick unborn child, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”


Unborn child rights / foetus rights :

An unborn child or human fetus which is a developing human entity roughly after eight weeks after conception of birth has both civil and human rights. Though law provides fundamental right to live from the very existence of life so it should include fetus protection as well. A fetus has a legal status so they must be provided with appropriate legal rights for their protection under law.

Before the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, section 312 of IPC defined miscarriage of termination and under IPC sections 313, 315, 316, 304 -A it was a punishable offense. But after M.T.P Act, Medical Termination of Pregnancy is allowed under necessary and certain reasonable conditions.

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