The Supreme Court, on 16th January, has permitted medical termination of pregnancy in pregnant women, within 24 weeks pregnancy for abnormality of the foetus, which could have endangered her life.

Though a proposed amendment to the Medical termination of pregnancy, gives leverage to pregnant women to abort at any time for “Selective” foetal abnormality and incompatiblity with life, which cannot be detected during the present mandated period of 20 weeks, the amendment is waiting for cabinet’s approval, after which the bill will be placed before the parliament.

The Supreme Court has allowed a woman from Mumbai who knocked at its doors, (after denial by doctors) to have an abortion, on the ground that it did not develop a skull which could endanger her life.

In recent months, the Supreme Court has allowed MTP, beyond 20 weeks to 2 rape victims.

The court observed that in the instant case that it is appropriate and in the interest of justice particularly the right of the petitioner to preserve her life. The court further said that the foetus is not compatible to life outside the uterus. Equally important was the danger to the mental and physical health of the pregnant woman.

The present Act permits termination of pregnancy till 20 weeks if two registered practitioners express unanimous opinion, that pregnancy would threaten the mother’s life or if the foetus develops abnormality.

The proposed changes to the Act, will strengthen access to safe abortion and women will be saved from moving the highest court for permission to have abortion, involving high expense and save them from traumatic experiences.

Courtesy: NCDRC

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