Reportedly the Union cabinet on wednesday approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which proposes to extend the upper time limit to terminate a pregnancy from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. Meanwhile the Bill seeks to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, and will be introduced in the upcoming Budget session of the Parliament.
Union minister prakash javadekar announced during a press conference on cabinet decisions “The limit of 20 weeks for medical termination of pregnancy has been increased to 24 weeks. This was important because in the first five months, the concerned girl doesn’t realise and then they have to go to the courts". He added “This was widely discussed with stakeholders. There was a group of ministers under nitin gadkari and this will impact positively on reducing maternal mortality. After 20 weeks, people were not getting official permission, people used to resort to informal channels and unsafe MTPs and thereby, it used to be a big problems". Unsafe abortions are the third leading cause of maternal mortality in India.
Moreover as per the current law, a pregnancy can be aborted upto 12 weeks based on the opinion of one doctor, and between 12 and 20 weeks, the opinion of two doctors is required to terminate the pregnancy. Perhaps the reasoning behind this is to curb sex selection, as the sex of the foetus can be determined after 12 weeks. The proposed bill that has got the approval of the cabinet says that only those seeking to terminate pregnancies between 20 and 24 weeks need a second doctor’s opinion. Javadekar said that this will help adolescent girls, rape survivors and others.