Effective 25th March 2021, Indian government has amended the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 in accordance with the advancements in the medical field and changes in the lifestyle of her citizens.
Summary of the changes done to the act
- In the actual MTP Act of 1971, wording included only ‘married women’. In this amendment, unmarried women are also made a part of.
- Pregnancy may be terminated until 20 weeks (instead of 12 weeks). Just one registered medical practitioner is sufficient to perform the abortion.
- If the pregnancy is beyond 20 weeks but less than 24 weeks, two medical practitioners are needed and they must be of the opinion that:
- Continuing the pregnancy will be a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or it can cause harm to her mental or physical health. (Rape, sexual assault or failure of contraceptives etc are also a part of this statement.)
- If the baby is at substantial risk of developing physical or mental abnormality.
- If the pregnancy is beyond 24 weeks, abortion is allowed only when the state medical board confirms abnormalities in the development of the foetus. The medical board shall constitute the following professionals:
- A gynaecologist
- A paediatrician
- A radiologist or sonologist
- Anyone else notified in the official gazette by the government of the state or UT.
How to abort pregnancy if it is over 24 weeks old?
As per the law, 24 weeks is the maximum limit by which a pregnancy can be terminated under the said circumstances. If a pregnancy older than 24 weeks needs to be terminated, a writ petition has to be filed in a court. If the reasons to terminate the pregnancy are found to be legitimate and concerning, the court may permit abortion.
Confidentiality of the woman’s information is mandatory by law
The MTP Amendment act also states that, the medical practitioner shall never reveal the name or any other particulars of the woman whose pregnancy is being terminated or has been terminated except to those authorised by the person herself.
Any doctor violating this condition is punishable with imprisonment that may extend to one year or with fine or with both.
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