With the passage of time and advancement of medical technology for safe abortion, there is a scope for increasing upper gestational limit for terminating pregnancies especially for vulnerable women and for pregnancies with substantial foetal anomalies detected late in pregnancy. Further, there is also a need for increasing access of women to legal and safe abortion service in order to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity caused by unsafe abortion and its complications. Considering the need and demand for increased gestational limit under certain specified conditions and to ensure safety and well-being of women, it is proposed to amend the said Act. Besides this, several Writ Petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court and various High Courts seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at gestational age beyond the present permissible limit on the grounds of foetal abnormalities or pregnancies due to sexual violence faced by women.
Accordingly, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, inter alia, provides for,—
(a) requirement of opinion of one registered medical practitioner for termination of pregnancy up to twenty weeks of gestation;
(b) requirement of opinion of two registered medical practitioners for termination of pregnancy of twenty to twenty-four weeks of gestation;
(c) enhancing the upper gestation limit from twenty to twenty-four weeks for such category of woman as may be prescribed by rules in this behalf;
(d) non applicability of the provisions relating to the length of pregnancy in cases where the termination of pregnancy is necessitated by the diagnosis of any of the substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by a Medical Board;
(e) protection of privacy of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated.
*Read the detailed bill here: The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020