Recently, Union Cabinet has approved changes to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 in order to increase the upper limit for termination of a pregnancy from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. Currently, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 provides for termination of pregnancy only up to 20 weeks.
Major Highlights of the Bill
- Requirement of opinion of one registered medical practitioner (instead of two or more) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation (time between conception and birth).
- Requirement of opinion of two registered medical practitioners for termination of pregnancy of 20 to 24 weeks.
- Increase the upper gestation limit (for abortion) from 20 to 24 weeks for survivors of rape, victims of incest (human sexual activity between family members or close relatives) and other vulnerable women, including minor girls.
- For unmarried women, the Bill seeks to relax the contraceptive-failure condition. Earlier “only married woman or her husband” were allowed to medically terminate the pregnancy, but the Bill proposes the same for “any woman or her partner”.
- It will provide greater reproductive rights to women as abortion is considered an important aspect of the reproductive health of women.
- Deaths and injuries from unsafe abortions are largely preventable, provided services are performed legally by trained practitioners.