Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 receives President’s assent

On March 25, 2021, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 received President’s assent which will modify the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette notifies.

Key amendments discussed below:

I. The Amendment Act inserts the following definitions in the 1971 Act:

  • “Medical Board” means the Medical Board constituted under sub-section (2C) of section 3 of the Act;’
  • “termination of pregnancy” means a procedure to terminate a pregnancy by using medical or surgical methods.’

II. The Amendment Act modifies Section 3 of the principal Act relating to termination of pregnancy by registered medical practitioner. It provides that –

2. a pregnancy may be terminated by a registered medical practitioner—

(a) where the length of the pregnancy does not exceed twenty weeks, if such medical practitioner is, or

(b) where the length of the pregnancy exceeds twenty weeks but does not exceed twenty-four weeks in case of such category of woman as may be prescribed by rules made under this Act, if not less than two registered medical practitioners are,

of the opinion, formed in good faith, that—

(i) the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health; or

(ii) there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from any serious physical or mental abnormality.

(2A) The norms for the registered medical practitioner whose opinion is required for termination of pregnancy at different gestational age shall be such as may be prescribed by rules made under this Act.

(2B) The provisions relating to the length of the pregnancy shall not apply to the termination of pregnancy by the medical practitioner where such termination is necessitated by the diagnosis of any of the substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by a Medical Board.

(2C) Every State Government or Union territory, as the case may be,shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a Board to be called a Medical Board for the purposes of this Act to exercise such powers and functions as may be prescribed by rules made under this Act.

(2D) The Medical Board shall consist of the following, namely:—(a) a Gynaecologist;(b) a Paediatrician;(c) a Radiologist or Sonologist;

III. The Amendment Act inserts new section 5A which provides that –

“No registered medical practitioner shall reveal the name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated under this Act exceptto a person authorised by any law for the time being in force.

Whoever contravenes the provisions shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.”

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