MTP Act: More needs to be done to make the Amendments meaningful for women
The Parliament’s approval of the Medical Termination Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, is an outcome of several years of multi stakeholder consultations and comes after multiple petitions in the Supreme Court and High Courts of India. The changes to the law come at a time when 10 women die every day as a result of unsafe abortion.
Mar 20, 2020
India legalized abortion in 1971 with the passage of the MTP Act, a law considered much ahead of its time. However, it is obsolete now given the societal changes and advancements in preconception diagnostics, fetal screening and abortion technologies. The current amendments address some of these – they now allow unmarried women to seek safe abortion services on grounds of contraceptive failure and re-emphasize maintaining confidentiality for all women undergoing termination of pregnancy, thereby making it easier for single women to access these services.
Medical Termination Of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2020 To Raise Upper Limit For Abortions Introduced In Lok Sabha [Read Bill]
LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
March 3, 2020
Considering the need and demand for increased gestational limit and to ensure safety and well-being of women, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday, March 2, 2020.
The Amendment Bill has been introduced in light of various petitions moved before the Supreme Court and various High Courts, seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at gestational age beyond the present permissible limit on the grounds of foetal abnormalities or pregnancies due to sexual violence faced by women.
The amendments in the MTP Act bill are flawed| Analysis
A woman’s right to reproductive freedom remains subordinated to the medical and legal regime
Feb 28, 2020
The Union Cabinet’s approval of the Amendments to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971, in January, sets the stage for a small though belated step forward. In a country where unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal mortality, taking a toll of 13 lives each day, the law and the health system will need to do much more than the proposed MTP Amendments Bill, 2020.
It is a welcome amendment that the bill inter alia proposes to place an unmarried woman and her partner at par with a married woman and her husband, in securing abortion due to contraceptive failure. Jurisprudentially, this carries forward the rationale of the law against domestic violence which makes no distinction between the rights and protections available to a woman, whether in marriage or a live-in relationship. This recognition of women’s sexual agency will encourage access to safe abortion facilities as the stigma is erased.
FEATURE: INDIA Prime Minister’s Cabinet tables proposal for abortion law reform
14 February 2020
International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
On 29 January 2020, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Modi published the text of a bill to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The bill is to be introduced in the ensuing session of the Union Parliament, where it will be debated. A summary of the current law, the amendments it proposes, and responses to the bill by leading NGOs working for abortion rights in India are reported below. Text in quotes is taken direct from the source.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971
The 1971 Act says that a pregnancy may be terminated up to 20 weeks of pregnancy with the approval of one registered medical practitioner up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, or the approval of “no less than two registered medical practitioners” from 12 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Approval must be given “in good faith” that:
The proposed liberalisation of abortion rules will ensure dignity, autonomy and justice for women
Published: 11th Feb 2020
The liberalisation of abortion rules in tune with the medical advancements and reproductive rights of women has been long overdue. The 1971 Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which imposes a 20-week limit beyond which abortion is prohibited, is regressive and out of sync with the 21st century realities. This has, in fact, proved tragic in many cases. A brutally raped minor was forced to give birth to her rapist’s child after a high court denied her request for abortion because by the time her petition was heard her pregnancy had crossed the 20-week limit prescribed by the law. There can be no greater injustice than this. The situation will, hopefully, change for the better now with the Union Cabinet giving nod for amendments to the Act seeking to raise the permission limit from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. This is a progressive move as it strengthens access to comprehensive abortion care without compromising on service and quality of safe abortion.
Seeking a more progressive abortion law
February 10, 2020
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill doesn’t do enough to secure women’s choices and interests
Recent reports have shown that more than 10 women die everyday due to unsafe abortions in India, and backward abortion laws only contribute to women seeking illegal and unsafe options. The Cabinet has recently approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (MTP Bill, 2020) which will soon be tabled in Parliament. It seeks to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP Act) and follows the MTP Bills of 2014, 2017 and 2018, all of which previously lapsed in Parliament.
Women On Web Making Self-Managed Safe Abortion Accessible
By Nivedita Jayakumar
February 5, 2020
Legal abortion means that the law recognizes a woman as a person. It says that she belongs to herself. But in most countries, women’s ability to access safe and legal abortions is restricted. Even places where abortion is permitted by law, women often have severely limited access to safe abortion services because of the stigma attached to it, the lack of proper regulation, health services, or political will. There are seven legal grounds on which abortion is permitted—to save a woman’s life, to preserve a woman’s physical health, to preserve a woman’s mental health, rape or incest, foetal impairment, socio-economic factors and on request. According to a report by Women on Waves, approximately 25% of the world’s population lives in countries with ‘highly restrictive abortion laws’—that is, laws which either completely ban abortion, or allow it only to save the mother’s life. And, performing abortion on a woman’s request is allowed only in 30% of countries. To bridge the gap between the 30% and the rest of the world, the online service Women on Web makes safe abortion accessible to every women around the world.
Why Proposed Amendment to Abortion Law is Small But Significant Victory for Women's Reproductive Rights
Although the law and the proposed amendment sound great on paper, their implementation remain tough given that abortion is still widely stigmatised in India, and there is very little awareness about the laws.
February 1, 2020
Earlier this week, the central government endorsed an amendment in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (1971), raising the upper limit of pregnancy termination from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. The bill is slated to be tabled for amendment during the current session of Parliament that began on January 31.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the amendment would reduce maternity-related deaths and said, "In a progressive reform and giving reproductive rights to women, the limit of 20 weeks of medical termination of pregnancy has been increased to 24 weeks. This is important because in the first five months, there are cases where the woman concerned doesn't realise and has to go to court."
Is India’s Abortion Law Going To Get Better With 24 Weeks Upper Limit?
January 31, 2020
by Poorvi Gupta
This week on Wednesday, centre backed a bill that seeks to increase the upper limit of termination of pregnancy from 20 weeks to 24 weeks in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will be tabled in the upcoming session of parliament that opens on Friday, January 31.
The bill focuses on increasing access to safe and legal abortion to women on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds. It is looking at boosting the upper gestation limit for abortion and to bolster access to comprehensive abortion care, under strict conditions, without compromising service and quality of safe abortion.
A deliverance: On pregnancy termination bill
January 31, 2020
Extending the period of medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks is a boon for many
The borders of viability of a particular process are often only as restrictive as the technology on which it rides. In some cases, as science advances, the elastic borders of viability will weave out to accommodate much more than they did in the past. The Centre’s move to extend the limit of medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks is a sagacious recognition of this, and needs to be feted. The extension is significant, the government reasoned, because in the first five months of pregnancy, some women realise the need for an abortion very late. Usually, the foetal anomaly scan is done during the 20th-21st week of pregnancy. If there is a delay in doing this scan, and it reveals a lethal anomaly in the foetus, 20 weeks is limiting. Obstetricians argue that this has also spurred a cottage industry of places providing unsafe abortion services, even leading, in the worst of cases, to the death of the mother.