New Delhi, March 16: The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha. The bill aims at regulating the conditions under which a pregnancy may be aborted. It extends the time period within which abortion may be carried out. After the passage of the bill, the upper limit for medical termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks. It will become law after the approval of President Ram Nath Kovind. Surrogacy Bill 2020: 'Willing' Woman Can Be Surrogate Mother; Widows, Divorcees Can Also Benefit.

At present, a woman required the opinion of one doctor if a baby could be aborted within 12 weeks of conception and two doctors if it is done between 12 and 20 weeks. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 allows state-level Medical Boards to decide if pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities. Her Body, Her Choice! Argentina Becomes Largest Country in Latin America to Legalise Abortion.

Dr Harsh Vardhan Speaking During Discussion on The Bill In The Rajya Sabha: 

Here Are Key Features Of The Bill:

  • It raises the upper limit for abortion to 24 weeks.
  •  The bill allows abortion after 24 weeks only in cases where a Medical Board diagnoses substantial foetal abnormalities.
  • Only state-level Medical Boards can take the decision if pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks.
  • As part of the bill, only doctors with specialisation in gynaecology or obstetrics can  carry out an abortion.

However, The bill does not specify the categories of women who may terminate pregnancies between 20-24 weeks. Many writ petitions have been filed by women seeking permission to abort pregnancies beyond 20-weeks due to foetal abnormalities or due to rape. Notably, if pregnancy due to rape exceeds 24 weeks, a woman should file a writ petition seeking an abortion.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 16, 2021 06:12 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website