Consultation on Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 (Download PDF)

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The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare conducted extensive consultative process (initiated in 2006) with experts, with the objective of proposing suitable amendments to Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

Image of Medical Termination of Pregnancy

Image of Medical Termination of Pregnancy

Image of Medical Termination of Pregnancy

Consultative process was done with

  • Central Ministries and Departments including AYUSH,

  • NGOs

  • Academic institutions

  • State Governments

  • Professional associations including Federation of Obstetric &Gynaecological Societies (FOGSI) and Indian Nursing Council (INC),

  • Civil society representatives

  • Lawyers

Taking into account both the public opinion and the recommendations from the deliberations, the proposed MTP (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has been drafted.

The Amendments to MTP Bill, 1971

  • Improving the scope of legal access to MTP bill for special category women which include survivors of rape, victims of incest, single women (unmarried, divorced, widowed) and other vulnerable women

  • The upper gestation limit for termination of pregnancy of rape survivors has been proposed to be increased from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.

  • For pregnancies diagnosed with substantial fetal abnormalities, it has been proposed, that no upper gestation limit would apply for termination

  • Constitution of Permanent Medical Boards by State/UT Governments in each state for urgent examination of cases referred by different courts for MTP beyond 20 weeks.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971

Abortion in India is legal only up to twenty weeks of pregnancy under specific conditions and situations, which are broadly defined as:

  • The continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury of physical or mental health, or

  • There is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.

The Need for Amendment in MTP Act, 1971

  • In 1971, when the abortion Act was formed, there were no ultrasounds or foetal monitors to give a high-tech peek at the developing fetus. But today prenatal diagnostics can determine the height, weight, size of the brain, down syndrome, congenital heart defects, kidney functioning

  • The problem is that most of these abnormalities are picked up in ultrasounds only by the 20th to 24th week only and that exceeds the legal abortion ceiling.

  • A Mumbai couple Haresh and Niketa Mehta made national headlines with their plea to abort their 26-week-old foetus diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. The Bombay High Court did not grant the couple’s plea saying that the medical experts had not categorically stated the child would “suffer from serious handicaps” — the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.

  • The Supreme Court handed down a victory to all women in July 2016 when it allowed an anonymous rape survivor to abort her 24-week-old foetus after she learnt that it suffered from Anencephaly, a congenital birth defect where the unborn would grow without a major portion of the brain and skull.

- Published/Last Modified on: June 22, 2018

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