Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2021 receives Parliamentary approval
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Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2021 receives Parliamentary approval

New Delhi, March 18, 2021

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 received Parliamentary approval with its passage in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on March 17, 2020.

The amendment enhances the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women which will be defined in the amendments to the MTP Rules and would include survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women, minors) etc.

The opinion of only one provider will be required up to 20 weeks of gestation and that of two providers for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.

Upper gestation limit not to apply in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by Medical Board. The composition, functions and other details of the Medical Board are to be prescribed subsequently in Rules under the Act.

Name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed except to a person authorised in any law for the time being in force.

The ground of failure of contraceptive has been extended to women and her partner.

An official press release said the Bill is aimed at expanding access of women to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds.

The amendments include the substitution of certain sub-sections, insertion of certain new clauses under some sections in the existing Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, to increase upper gestation limit for termination of pregnancy under certain conditions and to strengthen access to comprehensive abortion care, under strict conditions, without compromising service and quality of safe abortion.

"It is a step towards the safety and the well-being of the women. 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 amendments will increase the ambit and access of women to safe abortion services and will ensure dignity, autonomy, confidentiality and justice for women who need to terminate the pregnancy," the release added.

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