Why India’s law on abortion does not use the word ‘abortion’
Some attribute the curious choice of words ‘medical termination of pregnancy’ in the 1971 Act to the colonial hangover of using technical jargon. But that's not the case.
17 May, 2020
Have you wondered why the law on abortion in India, i.e., the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP), 1971, does not use the word ‘abortion’? Was there a reason for law makers to choose the phrase ‘medical termination of pregnancy’ over the colloquially recognised term ‘abortions’?
While some attribute the curious choice of words to the colonial hangover of using technical jargon in laws, the real reason is different. The intended use of the term ‘medical termination of pregnancy’ is aimed at ensuring that abortion laws in the country aren’t framed as granting women a choice or a right to undergo safe abortions, but as procedures to protect doctors against prosecution for conducting abortions. This blog explains how.
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.
India’s abortion law — ahead of its time in 1971 but now behind science, societal demands
Abortion has been legal for 48 years but is still not based on women's rights. Moreover, experts argue it isn't in line with current medical and societal standards.
Aneesha Bedi and Apoorva Mandhani
Updated: 3 June, 2019
New Delhi: Two years ago, in August 2017, the Supreme Court refused to grant permission to a 10-year-old school-going rape survivor from Chandigarh to abort her 32-week-old foetus. The apex court relied on a medical board report, which warned that abortion would risk the girl’s life.
This despite the girl having told the court that her body was not ready for childbirth. She was forced to deliver, giving birth to a baby girl soon after.
SC says abortion amounts to murder, rejects 20-year-old Mumbai woman’s plea
16 July, 2018
The petitioner, now over 25 weeks pregnant, had cited marital discord and a desire to end her marriage as grounds to seek an abortion.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday denied a 20-year-old woman permission to terminate her over-25-week pregnancy, suggesting that aborting a foetus amounted to murder.
Under Indian law, pregnancies older than 20 weeks can only be terminated if they pose a danger to the mother’s life, or are likely to culminate in serious physical or mental abnormalities in the child.