#Health and Hygiene

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill Is Pro-Women, Here Is Why

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The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2021 amends the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

It is the first time that the bill acknowledges that unmarried women may be in need of abortion too. The amendments provide greater access to women for safe abortion. It endaveours to ensure dignity, autonomy, confidentiality and justice for women who need to terminate pregnancy. The bill has been passed by Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha both. The union health minister has assured that the amendments in the bill have been made after studying and deliberating over global practices and consultation within the medical fraternity in India.

The bill has been considered pro women. Here is a look at what has changed and added to the bill:

  • For special categories of women the bill now permits abortion up to 24 weeks from earlier 20 weeks.
  • The bill seeks to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
  • The special categories of women can be defined by the states in the amendments to the MTP rules.  They include rape survivours, those who have faced incest and differently-abled women and minors.
  • The bill will permit abortion on the advice of one doctor up to 20 weeks, and two medical practitioners in the case of special categories between 20 and 24 weeks.
  • The bill proposes setting up of state level medical boards to discuss medical termination of pregnancy after 24 weeks in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities.
  • The legislation states that the identity such as name and other particulars of a woman who is undergoing an abortion shall not be revealed except to a person authorised in any law for the time being in force.
  • If the privacy norms under the act is violated the violator may be punished with imprisonment of up to one year or fine or both.
  • Here are comparisons in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020 and Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971:
    Duration  1971 Act 2020 Bill
    Till 12 weeks One doctor consultation One doctor consultation
    12-20 weeks Two-doctor consultation  One doctor consultation
    20-24 weeks No provision Two doctor consultation (in some cases)
    Over 24 weeks No provision Medical board consultation (in foetal abnormality cases)