Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill Amendment, 2020
- Pratigya Campaign Advisory Group released a report "Assessing the Judiciary's Role in Access to Safe Abortion- II" which analysed cases seeking permission of termination of pregnancy from the High Courts between May 2019 and August 2020.
- Pratigya Campaign Advisory Group is a network of over 100 individuals and organisations working towards protecting and advancing women's rights and their access to safe abortion care in India.
- According to the report, "There were a total of 243 cases filed across 14 high courts and one appeal before the Supreme Court. In 84 percent of the cases, permissions were given to terminate the pregnancy."
Reason for rise in the cases
- Currently abortion is a conditional right and is available only based on the opinion of the doctor.
- In India, abortion is allowed at the will of the pregnant person for up to 12 or more weeks of gestation. Women/girls with gestation below 20 weeks have to go to courts as the current MTP Act allows termination of pregnancy only upto 20 weeks. A large number of these cases are of survivors of sexual abuse and this only increases their trauma.
- The medical boards set up by Courts have created more obstacles for pregnant persons in accessing safe and legal abortion and the lockdown had made the matters even worse.
The New Amendment Proposal
- According to the Report by Pratigya, The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, is awaiting a nod from the Rajya Sabha and a few changes have been recommended by civil society organisations, which if accepted would make the Act progressive and rights-based.
- The Act regulates the conditions under which a pregnancy may be aborted. The Bill increases the time period within which abortion may be carried out.
- Currently, abortion requires the opinion of one doctor if it is done within 12 weeks of conception and two doctors if it is done between 12 and 20 weeks. The Bill allows abortion to be done on the advice of one doctor up to 20 weeks, and two doctors in the case of certain categories of women between 20 and 24 weeks.
- The Bill sets up state-level Medical Boards to decide if pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities.
'Woman should be allowed to terminate their pregnancy'. What are your views?
Mention in the comments below.