NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet of Modi government has given a nod on the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill on Wednesday. The bill now permits abortions up to 24 weeks that previously was 20 weeks in the same act introduced 50 years back, in 1971.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the bill will be introduced in the Parliament's budget session. The primary aim is to ease the age-old law regarding abortions in our country. The enhancement of the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks will also help special categories of women. The categories will be well-defined in the amendments of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy rules which will include "vulnerable women including survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women, minors)."
Earlier, a woman wanting to abort more than 20 weeks old foetus had to appeal to the court citing the reasons for termination. But now, the law allows abortions for 24-weeks-old pregnant women.
The cabinet note said today, "It is a step towards safety and well-being of the women and many women will be benefited by this. Recently, several petitions were received by the courts, seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at a gestational age beyond the present permissible limit on grounds of foetal abnormalities or pregnancies due to sexual violence faced by women. The proposed increase in gestational age will ensure dignity, autonomy, confidentiality and justice for women who need to terminate pregnancy."
However, it does not apply in the cases of foetal abnormalities diagnosed by the medical board. The bill makes it necessary to conceal the name and other details of the woman.
"The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, is for expanding access of women to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds," said officials.