Rape survivors and minors are now eligible for abortions lasting up to 24 weeks under the Center’s new regulation.Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021
The central government has decided to extend the time limit on abortion in exceptional circumstances. Certain groups of women under specific circumstances will now be permitted to terminate their pregnancies at 24 weeks of gestation, rather than the previous limit of 20 weeks.
The Centre has amended the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules to address certain exceptional circumstances. The abortion period has been extended for survivors of sexual assault, rape, or incest, children, women who have been bereaved or divorced during pregnancy, and women with physical disability.
Women who are mentally ill, those who have a foetal abnormality that could result in physical or mental problems, and those who are in catastrophe or emergency situations will also be eligible for an abortion at 24 weeks under the new government guideline.
According to the new provisions proposed in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, which was approved in March this year, state-level medical boards would make decisions regarding pregnancy termination at 24 weeks if the lady falls into any of the categories specified above.
The state medical board will consider requests for abortion filed by women in any of the aforementioned extraordinary circumstances and will render a decision within three days of receipt.
If approved, the abortion must be performed within five days of receiving the woman’s request. Additionally, the medical board must guarantee that the procedure is carried out with appropriate precautions and care, and that the lady receives appropriate counselling.
Medical professionals and women’s rights advocates applaud the federal government’s decision to extend the time limit for abortion, but other experts say that this rule should be extended to all women, not only those who fall into particular categories.