Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The Parliament has cleared the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The bill was approved in the Rajya Sabha March 16, 2021. The bill was already passed in the Lok Sabha on March 17, 2020.

Highlights

The bill was passed with the objective of amending the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. It seeks to increase the upper limit of legal abortions to 24 weeks for the special categories of women. This increase in the upper limit of the abortions was done in light with the advancement of the medical technologies which has made it possible to allow removal of foetus even at the advanced stage of pregnancy.

Key Features of the Bill

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 proposes for the opinion from one provider to terminate the pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation. It has introduced the requirement of opinion from the two providers in order to terminate the pregnancy up to 20-24 weeks. The bill also increases the upper gestation limit from 20 weeks to 24 weeks for the special categories of women like survivors of rape, differently-abled women, minors and victims of incest. The bill proposes that the upper gestation limit will not be applicable in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities if it is diagnosed by Medical Board. The composition, functions and other details of the Medical Board will be provided under the Act. The bill also proposes that, the name and other such details of woman whose pregnancy has been terminated should only be revealed to the person authorised by law.

Aim of the Bill

The amendments in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill was brought about with the objective of expanding the women’s access to safe and legal abortion services on eugenic, therapeutic, social & humanitarian grounds.

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