Wednesday, 20 July 2022




The Union Cabinet adopted modifications to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, in January 2020, allowing women to seek abortions as part of their reproductive rights and gender equity. The change increased the maximum MTP period for women, including rape survivors, incest victims, differently-abled women, and minors, from 20 to 24 weeks. Abortion is described as the termination of a pregnancy by a variety of means, including medical surgery, before the foetus is capable of living on its own.


The bill proposes that for abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, one certified medical practitioner's opinion (rather than two or more) be required (foetal development period from the time of conception until birth). It established a requirement for the approval of two certified medical practitioners before a pregnancy of 20-24 weeks could be terminated. It also increased the gestation limit for'special categories' of women, including rape survivors, incest victims, and other vulnerable women such as differently-abled women and adolescents. It further said that the "identity and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed" to anyone save those who are allowed under present legislation.


  1. It expands the access of women to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian or  any other social grounds.

  2. It is a step towards the safety and well-being of the women and many women will be benefited from this.

MTP ACT, 1971

The idea of terminating a pregnancy cannot originate by choice and is purely circumstantial. Under the law (section 3 of the MTP Act 1971), the doctor can perform an abortion in the following situations:

  1. If the pregnancy would be harmful to the life of the patient or affects her physical or mental health. The doctor will need to consider the circumstances of the patient to figure out if the pregnancy will harm her mental health, on a case to case basis.

  2. If there is a good chance that the child would suffer from physical or mental abnormalities which would leave him or her seriously handicapped.

  3. If pregnancy occurred as a result of a failure of contraception (but this is only applicable to married women).

  4. If pregnancy is a result of sexual assault or rape.


Access to legal and safe abortion is a critical component of sexual and reproductive equality, as well as a public health concern, and must be considered in current democratic discussions that seek to create a just society free of all forms of discrimination. The silence around unsafe abortion results in the deaths of women and conceals critical issues at the junction of these concerns, such as the formidable barriers that adolescent girls face in accessing reproductive health treatments, particularly abortion services. The right to a safe abortion is a crucial aspect of a woman's right to bodily integrity, life, and equality, and it must be safeguarded.

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