Abortion Period Increased up to 24 weeks: Union Cabinet
GUWAHATI: The Union Cabinet on January 29 extended the upper limit for permitting abortions from 20 to 24 weeks. “The move will ensure safe termination of pregnancies and give women reproductive rights over their bodies,” said Union minister Prakash Javadekar.
“This is important because in first 5 months there are cases where the girl concerned doesn’t realise and has to go to court. This was discussed with various stakeholders.” The minister added that this will also reduce maternal mortality.
The Cabinet approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The bill will be introduced in the next Parliament session.
The present abortion law, which is about five decades old, permits abortion up to a maximum gestation period of 20 weeks.
For unmarried women, the Bill seeks to relax the contraceptive-failure condition for “any woman or her partner” from the present provision for “only married woman or her husband”, allowing them to medically terminate the pregnancy.
Sources said the changes in law were proposed after an extensive consultation process with experts representing a range of stakeholders from central and state governments, NGOs, academic institutions, professional bodies and associations like Indian Medical Association, Indian Nursing Council and legal professionals.