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Medical Termination Of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Act, 2021

Medical Termination Of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Act, 2021:

The Delhi High Court has allowed the medical termination of pregnancy of a woman who had completed 22 weeks of gestation as the foetus was suffering from multiple abnormalities.

  • Gestation is the foetal development period from the time of conception until birth.
  • In India, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act stipulates a ceiling of 20 weeks, for termination of pregnancy, beyond which abortion of a foetus is statutorily impermissible.

About MTP Act:

  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (“MTP Act”) was passed due to the progress made in the field of medical science with respect to safer abortions.
  • In a historic move to provide universal access reproductive health services, India amended the MTP Act 1971 to further empower women by providing comprehensive abortion care to all.
  • The new Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act 2021 expands the access to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian and social grounds to ensure universal access to comprehensive care.

Key Provisions of the MTP Amendment Act, 2021:

  • Termination due to Failure of Contraceptive Method or Device:
    • Under the Act, a pregnancy may be terminated up to 20 weeks by a married woman in the case of failure of contraceptive method or device. It allows unmarried women to also terminate a pregnancy for this reason.
  • Opinion Needed for Termination of Pregnancy:
    • Opinion of one Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation.
    • Opinion of two RMPs for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.
    • Opinion of the State-level medical board is essential for a pregnancy to be terminated after 24 weeks in case of substantial foetal abnormalities.
  • Upper Gestation Limit for Special Categories:
    • Increases the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women, including survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (differently abled women, minors, among others).
  • Confidentiality:
    • The “name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed”, except to a person authorised in any law that is currently in force.