CJI Said India’s Abortion Law is Far Ahead of Other Countries
Bill and Act
3 min read
The Supreme Court gave a 27-year-old woman 24 hours to reconsider her plea for immediate termination of her 26-week pregnancy, a day after a two-judge bench sharply differed on the case.
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said India's abortion law is liberal, pro-choice and far ahead of other countries while hearing about a married woman wanting to terminate her 26-week pregnancy medically.
The woman had approached the court, saying she was unaware of her third pregnancy due to a disorder called lactational amenorrhea, and suffered from postpartum depression and poor financial conditions.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (“MTP Act”) was passed due to the progress made in the field of medical science with respect to safer abortions.
In a historic move to provide universal access reproductive health services, India amended the MTP Act 1971 to further empower women by providing comprehensive abortion care to all.
The 2021 Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act allows women to terminate pregnancy up to 20 weeks with a medical practitioner's opinion.
Certain categories of vulnerable women, such as rape survivors, minors and mentally infirm women, can undergo abortion up to 24 weeks under the law.
Abortion is only permitted after 24 weeks in cases where there are serious threats to the life or well-being of a woman or in cases of substantial fetal abnormalities. In such situations, medical boards are set up by courts to aid in decision-making.
Conditions of termination of Pregnancy
In order to terminate a pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation, the opinion of one Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) is required.
For pregnancies between 20-24 weeks of gestation, the opinion of two RMPs is necessary.
In cases where there are substantial fetal abnormalities and a pregnancy needs to be terminated after 24 weeks, the opinion of the State-level medical board is essential.
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