ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Right to Safe Abortion Care

The much-awaited amendments to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act should be adopted.

The recent spate of cases being heard at the Supreme Court seeking permission to conduct abortion in pregnancies that have passed 20 weeks, is indicative of the urgent need to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971. These cases land up at the doors of the judiciary because of the clause in the act that permits abortions after 20 weeks only if the life of the pregnant woman is in danger. The act does not consider foetal abnormalities or danger to the physical and mental health of pregnant women, or the fact that it has been possible for some time now to detect foetal abnormalities beyond 20 weeks. In such situations, the judiciary is approached, and has to adjudicate on a case-by-case basis with the recommendation of a panel of doctors.

The proposed amendments to the act, pending passage in Parliament since 2014, state that the length of the pregnancy has no bearing on the need for an abortion in the case of substantial foetal abnormalities (to be listed in the rules under the act), in addition to the endangerment of the life of the pregnant woman. These amendments, if passed, would make judicial appeal unnecessary as abortions would be permitted based on the opinion of a registered healthcare provider.

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Updated On : 28th Aug, 2017
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