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Upper Limits For Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Extended To 24 Weeks: MTP Act Amendment Comes Into Force

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
26 Sep 2021 7:02 AM GMT
Upper Limits For Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Extended To 24 Weeks: MTP Act Amendment Comes Into Force
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The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, has come into force with effect from 24th September 2021.The amendment inter alia modifies Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act to extend the upper limit for medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks, from the present stipulation of 20 weeks, for certain categories of women which will be defined in the MTP...

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The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, has come into force with effect from 24th September 2021.

The amendment inter alia modifies Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act to extend the upper limit for medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks, from the present stipulation of 20 weeks, for certain categories of women which will be defined in the MTP Rules. These categories will include 'vulnerable women' including rape victims.

The Amendment Bill was passed by Parliament on 16th March, this year. The Statement of Objects and Reasons annexed with the Bill stated thus: "With the passage of time and advancement of medical technology for safe abortion, there is a scope for increasing upper gestational limit for terminating pregnancies especially for vulnerable women and for pregnancies with substantial foetal anomalies detected late in pregnancy. Further, there is also a need for increasing access of women to legal and safe abortion service in order to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity caused by unsafe abortion and its complications."

The following are some of the changes brought in by the amendment:

Section 3 explains when pregnancies may be terminated by registered medical practitioners. However, Section 4 clarifies that no termination of pregnancy shall be made in accordance with this Act at any place other than -(a) A hospital established or maintained by Government, or (b) a place for the time being approved for the purpose of this Act by Government. Subject to this condition, a pregnancy may be terminated by a registered medical practitioner,

(a) where the length of the pregnancy does not exceed twenty weeks, if such medical practitioner is, or

(b) where the length of the pregnancy exceeds twenty weeks but does not exceed twenty-four weeks in case of such category of woman as may be prescribed by rules made under this Act,

if not less than two registered medical practitioners are, of the opinion, formed in good faith, that—

(i) the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health; or

(ii) there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from any serious physical or mental abnormality.

Explanation 1.—For the purposes of clause (a), where any pregnancy occurs as a result of failure of any device or method used by any woman or her partner for the purpose of limiting the number of children or preventing pregnancy, the anguish caused by such pregnancy may be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.

Explanation 2.—For the purposes of clauses (a) and (b), where any pregnancy is alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, the anguish caused by the pregnancy shall be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.

Medical Opinion

As per the Amendment, opinion of one doctor will be required for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks; and opinion of two doctors will be required for termination of pregnancy of 20 to 24 weeks. They have to be of the opinion that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health; or that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from any serious physical or mental abnormality.

Medical Board

The Medical Board will be comprised of (i) a gynaecologist, (ii) a paediatrician, (iii) a radiologist or sonologist, and (iv) other members, as may be specified by the state government. Their functions and other details of will be prescribed subsequently by the MTP Rules.

Confidentiality Of Identity

The name and other particulars of the woman whose pregnancy is terminated shall not be revealed, except to a person authorized in any law which is in force; and any person acting in contravention of this provision will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.


Click here to Read/Download MTP Amendment Act

Click here to Read/Download Notification


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