The Union Cabinet has today approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2020, which sought extension of the upper gestation limit for abortions to 24 weeks from 20 weeks. The bill expands the access of women to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds.
“The limit of 20 weeks of medical termination of pregnancy has been increased to 24 weeks because there have been cases in which in the first 5 months the concerned girl doesn’t realize and has to visit the court. This was discussed with various stakeholders. This will reduce maternal mortality” stated the Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
The amendment of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules for the extension to 24 weeks, proposes for special categories of women which include ‘survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women, minors), etc.’ However, the extension will not apply in cases of substantial fetal abnormalities diagnosed by the Medical Board. For such, the composition along with its functions and various other details of the Medical Board to be prescribed in the Rules of the amended Act.
The particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed except to a person authorized in any law for the time being in force.
“The proposed increase in gestational age will ensure dignity, autonomy, confidentiality, and justice for women who need to terminate the pregnancy” stated the Union Cabinet.