The Central Government on Tuesday (October 12) notified the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules, 2021 which extend the gestational limit for termination of a pregnancy from 20 to 24 weeks for certain categories of women. These rules have been notified under Section 6 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.
Importantly, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, had come into force with effect from 24th September 2021.
The amendment inter alia modified Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act to extend the upper limit for medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks, from the earlier stipulation of 20 weeks, for certain categories of women which have now been defined in the MTP Rules (notified on October 12).
As per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules, 2021, the following categories of women shall be considered eligible for termination of pregnancy under clause (b) of subsection (2) Section 3 of the Act, for a period of up to twenty-four weeks, namely:-
- Survivors of sexual assault or rape or incest;
- Change of marital status during the ongoing pregnancy (widowhood and divorce);
- Women with physical disabilities [major disability as per criteria laid down under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (49 of 2016)];
- mentally ill women including mental retardation;
- The foetal malformation that has a substantial risk of being incompatible with life or if the child is born it may suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities to be seriously handicapped; and
- Women with pregnancy in humanitarian settings or disaster or emergency situations as may be declared by the Government.
Further, the new rules make the formation of a state-level medical board mandatory, to decide if a pregnancy could be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of foetal malformation. It would be mandatory for it to provide its opinion on the termination of pregnancy within three days of receiving the request for medical termination of pregnancy.
Earlier, abortion was possible with the opinion of one doctor in affirmation if it is done within 12 weeks of conception, and 2 doctors, if abortion had to take place between 12 and 20 weeks.
Further, the rules make it mandatory for the Board to ensure that the termination procedure, when advised by the Medical Board, is carried out with all safety precautions along with appropriate counselling within five days of the receipt of the request for medical termination of pregnancy
Read more about the MTP Amendment Act here: Upper Limits For Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Extended To 24 Weeks: MTP Act Amendment Comes Into Force