Author: Archana Pandey
BA LLB, Second Year
Women are the strongest member of a society. She is the one who is sufficient to handle each and every situation with a level of intelligence. To save the society, women has to be protected and been respected. The women are that creation of the GOD who has a duty to run the world by giving birth to a child and serve them in this world. In the period of pregnancy they have to suffer from various implications which can also leads to their death. Therefore the Government of India has proposed an act for the safety of women from any unwanted pregnancies. The act named as Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act in the year 1971. There were so many loopholes in the act with regards to the present society. This is the reason why the Health Minister has proposed a bill for the amendment of the act.
Medical termination of pregnancy can be called as medical abortion. It is legalized by the government and the statues of India just to terminate unwanted pregnancy which has been caused either by rape, any inability either physical, mental, danger to the mother due to continuous and of pregnancy, possible danger to the fetus, or any accidental pregnancy which is caused by the failure of contraceptive measures by a married woman or her husband.
The population of the world is growing day by day as the situation is near to us that there is a scarcity of resources for even fulfilling the basic needs. India ranked the second position in the context of population. There is a need to control the population by regulating unwanted pregnancies so that the further resources can be reserved. Well this is not the main reason of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971, a legal abortion can be done by the specialist who has been authorized by the Indian government for that particular work so that the women can be saved from any further damages or injuries by continuing that particular pregnancy.
There are conditions on which person cannot be done this practice like after the knowing the sex of fetus, when done by unauthorised person, when it is not send on the conditions that has been prolonged by the government like the woman is a minor or lunatic to handle that particular situation, it may not cause any further damages to her if there is a continuation of pregnancy, etc.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act
The Amendment Bill has been introduced by the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs Dr. Harshvardhan on March 2 2020 for the medical termination of pregnancy act. It was proposed by him to make some changes in the rule of law in the process of Medical Termination of Pregnancy.
Need for the amendment
The woman who has fetus has right to do abortion when there is a risk of health. Due to unwanted pregnancies, the health of a woman is also getting affected badly because she is not well prepared for the condition. According to a study in 2015 by India Journal of Medical Ethics it was seen that 13% of maternal death are due to unsafe abortion.
According to the Section 3 (2) of the MTP Act the conditions of termination is described as:
The length of pregnancy should not exceed 12 weeks
And if any condition it exceeds 12 week then it should not exceed 20 weeks
The registered medical practitioners have the opinion that there is a necessity of determination because it will create a risk to the life of the pregnant women or to the child which is going to be born.
Due to the whole procedure, it delays the decision making for the termination of pregnancy which may further creates implications and problems to the women. The main criticism of the 1971 act is that it doesn't use the new medical technology for the removal of fetus with advanced stage. In case of minor written statement should be needed from her guardian so that no cause of wrong action can arise.
Features of the proposed Bill
Due to this amendment the requirement of opinion for the termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks is now only one medical practitioner which will reduce the delay in the procedure
There is a requirement of two medical practitioner who have an authorization from the government of India in case of the termination of pregnancy goes up to 22 to 24 weeks
A special description for enhancement of gestation limit for special categories of women which includes survivors of rape, differently able women and minors is granted.
For the sake of privacy of the women who has terminated pregnancy shall not be disclosed of in public so that the legacy can be maintained.
Benefits of the Extension
The extension has been made in the week of the termination. There are numerous cases when fetus abnormalities detected after 20th week of the unwanted pregnancy. Therefore it will be beneficial to do a proper checkup of the same.
There are so many evil practices in the society which also has to be terminated that's why the minimum period of the termination is 20th and 21st week of pregnancy. Because after the described period the fetal anomaly scan can be detected.
The extension will definitely help the women of different conditions like rape victims, ill and underage women to terminate their pregnancy with lawful procedure. Because at these major points it is priory very difficult for them to survive in the society and if such termination is not happened then it will cause more problems for them.
The woman has a reproductive right by which she has a right to take abortion while she was unmarried and it is a definite condition that their identity will not be disclosed in public so that integrity of law can be maintained.
Issues related to extension
This act was proposed to form so that the evil practices can be exempted from the society and the law is able to secure the rights of every individual. But then also there are so many evil practices and the liability of the same should be taken in consideration.
Due to the extension of the time period the question arises on the viability of fetus. As this is a period when the fetus is able to come and live outside the womb. With the improvement in the technology and technical equipments the professionals are able to find the actual viability of the fetus. Viability of the fetus was proposed to be getting after the seven months but nowadays it can occur early at 24 weeks. Therefore it remarks a questionable on the conflict with the viability of fetus.
The society is a male dominating society where the men are preferred over the women. There is a demand of male child so that a family can be moved. There were so many centers which work for the determination of sex in the fetus of mother which leads to the abortion of a girl child. But now the situation is well balanced and the preparation of who does this wrong act will be punished and his or her license to can also be dismissed.
Health of every individual is as important as any other condition. When an individual is healthy he or she is capable of doing any act. The health of women is more important because she has to her family while handling each and every individual of her family. This act is very helpful for the concerning behaviour of the women. It is a good direction that the amendment has been passed by the authority. It means that the society is changing its mindset towards the women. Now it can be said that it is a new step for changing the society for the development of future.
PRS Legislative, The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 https://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/medical-termination-pregnancy-amendment-bill-2020, March 02, 2020
Drishti IAS Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 https://www.drishtiias.com/daily-updates/daily-news-editorials/medical-termination-of-pregnancy-amendment-bill-2020, 3 February 2020
Manoj k. Singh, Vijay Laxmi Rathore and Arnika Sharma, The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2020, https://www.mondaq.com/india/healthcare/937694/the-medical-termination-of-pregnancy-amendment-bill-2020, 21 May 2020