The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 has been cleared by the Parliament, which was passed by Lok Sabha on 17 March 2020. The bill was recently approved in the Rajya Sabha on 16 March 2021.
Objective of the Bill
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
- The bill proposed to increase legal abortions’ upper age limit to 24 weeks for the special categories of women.
- The increase in the upper limit of the abortions was done in light with the medical technologies advancement that made it possible to allow foetus removal even at the advanced stage of pregnancy.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – Key Features
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 proposes the need of the opinion of one registered medical practitioner for termination of up to 20 weeks of gestation.
- The bill introduces the requirement of the opinion of 2 registered medical practitioners for termination of 20-24 weeks of pregnancy. The bill also increased the upper gestation limit the special categories of women including victims of incest, survivors of rape, differently-abled women and minors.
- The bill proposes in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by Medical Board the upper gestation limit will not be applicable. The details of the Medical Board including composition and functions will be provided under the Act.
- The bill also highlights that the name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated will only be revealed to a person authorized by law in force.
The amendments to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill was made with the objective tp expand the access of Indian women to safe and legal abortion services on the grounds of therapeutic, eugenic, social and humanitarian.