Dr. Harsh Vardhan
Minister of Health and Family Welfare
The bill suggests the conditions under which a pregnancy may be aborted. The Bill also proposes to increase the time period within which abortion may be carried out i.e. from 12 weeks to up to 20 weeks of conception.
Salient Points ()
The upper limit for termination of a pregnancy to be increased from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
Proposes opinion of only one registered medical practitioner (RMP) allowed for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks
Suggests opinion of two RMPs for termination of pregnancy of 20 to 24 weeks
Relaxes unmarried women to terminate their pregnancy up to 24 weeks
Change in terminology from “only married woman or her husband” to “any woman or her partner”
Background Basics ()
Termination of pregnancy is the right of women, but as per current act, abortion can only be provided at the discretion of a medical practitioner.
Many women have approached Courts seeking abortions beyond 20 weeks due to foetal abnormalities (detected in later stages of gestation)
Doctors are unwilling to provide abortion in cases of sexual assault and rape, particularly of minors
All these problems have led to delaying access to safe abortion care, subjecting women and girls to repeated examination by medical boards and at times denial of services.
There is ambiguity for unmarried women to terminate the pregnancy due to contraceptive failure
For second-trimester abortions, the consent of two medical practitioners is required. This is particularly challenging in rural areas where many times a second practitioner is not available.
Bill Introduced in Lok Sabha
Bill passed in Lok Sabha
WHY (as per the govt)
Salient Points ()
The move to amend the MTP Act, 1971 is a progressive step towards the empowerment of women.
It will provide greater reproductive rights to women
Deaths and injuries from unsafe abortions will reduce as it is performed by legally trained practitioners.
Will provide access to safe and legal abortion services
- The much wider window of time for women to decide on abortion
- Safeguards for special categories of women
- It can ease the burden on Courts which have to entertain numerous petitions on abortion beyond 20 weeks of gestation.
- Assured confidentiality on the identity of aborting mothers comes as a breather in a society like India where social stigma relating to abortion can wreak havoc in the life of the woman/girl who has undergone an abortion.
Under the proposed bill all women will have the right to terminate her pregnancy legally
52 % including France, the UK, Austria, Ethiopia, Italy, Spain, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and even Nepal, allow for termination beyond 20 weeks on the diagnosis of foetal abnormalities.
Some countries go beyond even these limits with laws in 23 countries-Canada, Germany, Vietnam, Denmark, Ghana, and Zambia-allowing for abortion at any time during the pregnancy on the request of the mother.
In the UK, abortions are allowed at up to 24 weeks, with abortion guidelines formulated by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists including procedures for termination of pregnancies older than 20 weeks. It also states that, in pregnancy older than 21 weeks and 6 days, an injection to cause foetal death is given before the foetus is evacuated.