Pregnancy Termination – What You need to know

The word ‘abortion’ itself is taboo in Indian society, and yet recent issues have highlighted the medical, social and human rights context of abortion and pregnancy termination. Take for example the recent case in Ireland. Savita Halappanavar, of Indian origin, was not permitted to terminate her pregnancy as the law of the country was against abortion. This resulted in her death, but it also raised some pertinent questions about the sensitivity and complex nature of abortion. Here is what Indian law says about the issue, and some related details you need to know:

Law regarding abortion in India

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 states that a woman can go in for abortion until the 20th week of her pregnancy. Prior to this Act abortion was illegal unless in the event that it saved the life of the mother. But in 1971 the parliament passed the MTP Act and relaxed this law. The various situations under which a woman can terminate her pregnancy are-

  1. Health of the mother and in some cases of the child is to be taken into consideration. If the mother is ailing due to a disease or if her physical or mental health was in danger, she can terminate the pregnancy. Also if the child is at risk of physical or mental handicap, abortion is permitted.

  2. If a contraceptive device has failed or if the pregnancy is a result of rape.

  3. If the pregnant woman is a minor or mentally unsound.

  4. If the surroundings of the woman are not feasible for the growth of the fetus.

  5. The permission for abortion can be given only by the pregnant women unless the woman is under the age of 18 or mentally unsound.

Related provisions

  1. Abortion can be conducted only in the presence of a medical officer up to the 12th week of pregnancy and 2 medical practitioners up to the 20th week of pregnancy.

  2. Abortions post the time of the pill should be conducted in a government hospital or a hospital approved by the government under the supervision of medical practitioners only.

  3. The government also allows the usage of the abortion pill up to the 9th week or 63 days of the last period cycle.

This is what the law states. Though there is much that goes into the act apart from legalities. The issue of abortion involves social, psychological, religious and economic factors, and it is thus important to take this decision only with the help of professional advice and counseling.

This article is only to educate our readers kindly consult with your doctor prior taking any steps.

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