New Delhi: 29th January In an effort to simplify the abortion laws in the country, the Union Cabinet has planned to make a host of changes to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 to increase the upper limit for termination of a pregnancy from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
It is also set to extend the contraceptive-failure clause for termination to include “any woman or her partner” from the present provision for “only married woman or her husband”.
Sources in the government said the draft MTP Bill has been circulated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Cabinet has to take a decision on its approval.
The present abortion law, which is about five decades old, permits abortion up to a maximum foetal gestation period of 20 weeks.
In recent years, there have been strong demands to raise the foetal gestation period for abortion beyond 20 weeks.
Sources said the draft Bill proposes requirement of opinion of one registered medical practitioner (RMP) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation.
For unmarried women, the Bill seeks to relax the contraceptive-failure condition for “any woman or her partner” from the present provision for “only married woman or her husband”, allowing them to medically terminate the pregnancy.
Sources said the changes in law were proposed after an extensive consultation process with experts representing a range of stakeholders from central and state governments, NGOs, academic institutions, professional bodies and associations like Indian Medical Association, Indian Nursing Council and legal professionals.