Abortion is the Voldemort of Indian cinema: it must not be named. For years, unplanned pregnancies have been used as miracles that fix pretty much every problem. Relationship troubles? Extra-marital affair? Toxic partner? Problems with parents or in-laws? “Oru kuzhandhai porandha ellam seri aagidum.” Sure, it may not be everyone’s preference, but why is it never shown to be an option? Even worse, this perfectly legal procedure is often equated to ‘murder’ or ‘sin’, like films like Puppy, or AL Vijay’s short in Kutty Story. The latter even dubs abortion illegal, while the former guilt-shames a woman into being a mother.
It has been 50 years since the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, legalised a woman’s right to terminate pregnancy within 20 weeks (24 in special cases with legal and medical permission). And yet, there is SO much misinformation around the subject and the procedure. So, when a character in the recently released Netrikann claims that she didn’t know that abortions were legal, it’s perfectly understandable.