Maternal Mortality in India: Using International and Constitutional Law to Promote Accountability and Change

The Government of India has a legal obligation to ensure that women do not die or suffer complications as a result of preventable pregnancy-related causes. The staggering scale and continuing occurrence of maternal deaths and morbidity in India reveals the Government’s failure to protect women’s rights and comply with international law.
 
As the nation leading the world with respect to the number of maternal deaths, the Indian government has an immediate obligation to take meaningful steps to dramatically reduce maternal mortality by fully implementing national policies on maternal health and holding those responsible for the failure of its policies accountable.
 
This report is intended to serve as a resource for those interested in using international and constitutional legal norms and mechanisms to establish government accountability for maternal deaths and pregnancy-related morbidity through public interest litigation and human rights advocacy.

An update to this report was published in 2011 that features key legal developments that have resulted from public interest litigation strategies being utilized to address maternal mortality in India.