Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act

#GS-02 Healthcare

For Prelims

MTP (Amendment) Act 2021

  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act was first enacted in the year 1971.
  • Its aim was to address the challenge of rising maternal mortality due to unsafe abortions.
  • The amendment in 2021 raised the maximum gestational age at which a woman may obtain a medical abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
However, this extension is available only to women in certain situations such as
  • If the pregnancy is the result of sexual assault or rape or incest;
  • If the woman is a minor;
  • If there is a change in her marital status during the ongoing pregnancy due to widowhood or divorce;
  • If the women suffer from major physical or mental disabilities;
  • Presence of foetal malformation incompatible with life or the possibility of a seriously handicapped child being born;
  • If the woman is located in a humanitarian crisis or disaster or stuck in the emergency as declared by the Government.

Other provisions of the Act

  • The 1971 Act allowed only a married woman to terminate pregnancy up to 20 weeks in the case of failure of contraceptive method or device.
  • The amendment extended this right to unmarried woman as well.
  • Up to 20 weeks of gestation, opinion of one Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) is required for termination of pregnancy.
  • For termination of pregnancy from 20 to 24 weeks of gestation opinion of two RMPs is required for termination of pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy can be terminated even after 24 weeks but only in case of substantial foetal abnormalities and only on the recommendation of the State-level medical board.

Supreme Court on Abortion rights

  • Supreme Court on September 2022 held that unmarried women in a consensual relationship are also entitled to safe and legal abortion up to 24 weeks.

Source “Despite SC order, single women denied abortion