What does the Indian law state about terminating the pregnancy of a pregnant woman? You don’t have to go through all the legal documentation by the authorities (links given below, for reference). You can read and understand the law that we have put up here in terms that everyone can easily understand (we hope).
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 came into effect from 10th August 1971. Here are the important points to note:
Pregnancy of a woman can be terminated under the following conditions:
- The length of pregnancy should not exceed 12 weeks. In this case, one qualified gynaecologist or obstetrician is sufficient to terminate the pregnancy, with the consent of the individual in case of a major and if the person is a minor, written consent of a guardian/parent is necessary.
- If the length of pregnancy has crossed 12 weeks but less than 20 weeks, opinion of two registered medical practitioners is needed and abortion can be performed only under the following circumstances:
- Continuation of pregnancy is harmful to the physical or mental health of the woman.
- Or there is a substantial risk of physical, mental abnormalities to the child that will be born.
Notes: Continuation of pregnancy is considered harmful to the woman if she was sexually assaulted. Failure of contraceptives used to prevent pregnancy is also considered as a factor that affects the mental health of a pregnant woman. Any physical or mental health risk may be an actual one that the woman is going through or if the doctor foresees such as risk, abortion may be carried on as per the law.
Without the consent of an adult woman or that of a guardian of a minor girl, any abortion performed is deemed illegal.
What are the places approved by law where abortion may be performed by a registered medical practitioners in India?
- A hospital established or maintained by the government is a lawful place to abort pregnancy.
- Places approved by the government such as private clinics, hospitals or nursing homes can also be used to perform an abortion.