Amending Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act would save women from trauma.

Amending Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act would save women from trauma.

Amending Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act would save women from trauma.

Existing MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) act for abortion:
  • Up to 20 weeks of gestation, with the consent of the woman.
  • If the woman is below 18 years or is mentally ill, then with the consent of a guardian.
  • With the opinion of a RMP, formed in good faith, under certain circumstances.
  • Opinion of two RMPs required for termination of pregnancy between 12 and 20 weeks.
  • Risk of physical or mental health of woman.
  • Abnormality in the fetus.
  • Pregnancy caused by rape.
  • Contraceptive failure in married couples.
Proposed amendments
  • The time period under which medical termination of pregnancy could be done should be increased from 20 weeks to 24 weeks in cases of substantial fetal abnormality.
  • Sexually active unmarried women should also have the right to seek abortion within the stipulated time period.
  • Allowing homeopaths, nurses and midwives to conduct non-invasive abortions with training.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act states that an abortion can be done only till 20 weeks and not after that. Doctors have always objected to this rule and have tried to bring focus to the fact that the time should be extended since there are some abnormalities that cannot be detected in the aforementioned time period.

Recently when SC permitted a Mumbai based women to abort her 24 weeks fetus due to abnormality that could have endangered her life, it revived the controversy that the bill is yet to be passed in the Parliament. This is not a permanent solution. It would be treated as a case of exception and women will still need to go to court if they want to terminate the pregnancy after 20 weeks.


1. Taking the matter to court: Not every woman can go to the court when they want to terminate their pregnancy due to any reason. The time taken by the court to decide upon the issue further extends the pregnancy period and it become very complicated for some to even think of going this way. Going to court for termination of pregnancy is also very traumatic for a woman who is already fighting a traumatic war within herself.

2. Doctors have asked for it: Gynecologists everywhere have the opinion that abnormality in the fetus or in the pregnancy is hard to detect in a 20 weeks old fetus. It takes more time than that to ensure that both mother and child are fit enough. Rare birth defects like anencephaly can be detected at 16 weeks or takes longer too. Unborn babies with cardiac problems are also detected after 20 weeks. Stillborns are very traumatic and endangering for any women to bear. It is absolutely necessary that the bill gets through in the Parliament.

3. Legit procedures: Women still undergo abortion after 20 weeks if they are detected with abnormality in order to prevent giving birth to an unfit child or in some cases to stay safe. These abortions are then carried out at unregistered maternity clinics at the hands of doctors who are not well trained or authorized to carry out the procedure safely after 20 weeks. Making it legit would facilitate women to go to an authorized hospital and have access to safe abortion.

4. Previous cases: Last year SC permitted a rape victim to undergo abortion at 24 weeks since the pregnancy was endangering her life physically and mentally. In 2015, a similar case in Gujarat was also granted permission on the same ground. In both these cases the High Court had denied the girls permission to abort and hence they had to take the case to SC. This would have led to immense trauma and loss of time.

5. Social health: The present MTP bill only considers the physical and mental health, completely ignoring social stigma related to the birth of an incompetent child or a child born out of rape or to an unmarried girl. The societal pressure make the girl suffer along with her child, something that could be avoided with the amendment.

6. Rubbishing the whole murder aspect: A child is a person only after it is born. In the womb of a mother it is a fetus whose life is attached to the umbilical cord of the woman carrying it. If the woman is not in the condition of delivering and raising a child, she should have every right to terminate her pregnancy at a safe abortion clinic without having to move judiciary for this purpose.


1. More pressure on rape victims: A victim of rape will be further victimized at the hands of society and family to undergo abortion even when she doesn’t want to or is ready to deliver and raise the child. Since it will be easier, society will traumatize and pressurize the woman to undergo abortion.

2. Same for unmarried women: Unmarried woman carrying a child is a taboo for our society, a heinous crime on the part of the woman and later the child will also be subjected to discrimination of illegitimacy. They will be forced to abort the child.

3. An amended bill will not change the outlook: It is the mindset of society that traumatizes pregnant women opting for abortion under various circumstances. Unless people broaden their minds and start respecting the decision of women towards her body, there is no doing away with trauma for women.

An amendment to the bill is a long pending necessary measure. It should be passed in the parliament soon to prevent traumatizing of women who either abort in the unregistered clinics or wait to go from High Court to Supreme Court for green lights to be shown for abortion.
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