Cabinet approves raising upper limit for abortions to 24 weeks
The Union Cabinet approved extending the upper limit for permitting abortions from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
The Cabinet approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
The Bill will be introduced in the ensuing session of Parliament.This will ensure safe termination of pregnancies and also give women reproductive rights over their bodies.
The extension to 24 weeks will also help victims of rape, girls with disabilities as well as minors, who may not realise they are pregnant until later.This is important because in first 5 months there are cases where the girl concerned doesn’t realise and has to go to court. This will reduce maternal mortality.
LEARNING WITH TIMES
Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971
- The law largely allows a woman to abort only if continuance of the pregnancy, according to a medical practitioner, involves a risk to her life; grave physical or mental injury; or risk of serious foetal abnormalities. This is the case even in case the pregnancy is less than 12 weeks old.
- Abortion, as per the 1971 Act, is not permissible after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- While it protects married woman by allowing them to terminate an “unplanned and unwanted pregnancy, the same is not extended to single women”.
- The Act does not allow abortion of pregnancy in the case of minors or mentally ill persons without the consent of the guardian.