The gestational limit for termination of a pregnancy has been increased from 20-24 weeks for some categories of women as per the government’s new rules.
Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules 2021, these categories include survivors of sexual assault or rape or incest, minors, women whose marital status changes during an ongoing pregnancy (widowhood and divorce) and those with physical disabilities.
The new rules also include mentally ill women, cases of 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 and women in disasters or emergency situations as declared by the government.
The new rules were passed by Parliament in March under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021.
Earlier, abortion required the opinion of one doctor if carried out within 12 weeks of conception and two doctors if it is done between 12 and 20 weeks.
A state-level medical board will be set up to decide if a pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of foetal malformation where there is a substantial risk of incompatibility with life, physical or mental abnormalities or handicaps, as per the new rules.
The Medical Boards will examine the woman and her reports if she approaches for medical termination of pregnancy and then either accept or reject the proposal for medical termination of pregnancy within three days of receiving the request.