'Amendment Is Necessary': Madras HC Moots Extending Abortion Window Period To 24 Weeks [Read Order]
"In the interest of women, children and future generation, the amendment is necessary.”
The Madras High Court has observed that an amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, extending the abortion window period from 20 weeks to 24 weeks, is necessary.
In a suo motu registered writ petition based on a news report, the bench comprising Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice SS Sundar observed that the doctors are finding it very difficult to diagnose the abnormalities in the fetus within 20 weeks as the cases are reported very late, especially, in the rural areas.
The bench has asked the Central Government to come out with a time frame by which the Act would be amended as per the proposed Draft Amendment of 2014.
It noted that about 1.6 crores abortions are done in India and 81% of the abortions are done at homes in unsafe manner and 13 women die every day due to unsafe abortions. It has been reported by WHO – MOD (March of Dimes) about 2,70,00,000 children are born every year in India and the children born with birth defects are 1.7 million viz., 17 lakhs children and fetal abnormalities are found out in the fetus itself, the bench said.
It also observed that the amendment is necessary given the statistics of rape in India. The bench said:
"One more serious side of the issue is that in India, thousands of women and children are raped every year and the number of rapes are shockingly increasing. In 2016, about 38,947 women are raped, whereas the number was only 18,233 in 2004. In case of rape victims, there is a chance for getting conceived and those unwanted fetus can be terminated if the abortion window period is extended for 24 weeks, so that, the birth of unwanted children with stigma which are result of the rapes and forced relationships, against the wishes of the victims, can be avoided. In the interest of women, children and future generation, the amendment is necessary."
The case has been posted to 24th June.