The Lok Sabha Tuesday passed a Bill to extend the upper limit for permitting abortions from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks for “special categories of women”, including rape survivors, victims of incest, differently-abled and minors. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which seeks to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 was passed by a voice vote.
“When this original Bill was brought in 1971, India was amongst one of the first few countries in the whole world to legalise abortion in order to provide legal and safe abortion services to women who required to terminate a pregnancy due to certain threptic, eugenics or humanitarian grounds,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the House while piloting the Bill.
“However, with the passage of time and advancements of medical technology for safe abortion, there is a scope for increasing upper gestational limit for terminating pregnancies, especially for vulnerable women, like survivors of rape, incest, minor girls or differently abled women and for pregnancies with substantial foetal abnormalities detected late in the pregnancy,” the minister said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had constituted a Group of Ministers headed by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to look at his this Bill. The Bill was approved by Cabinet and Law ministry subsequently before being placed in the House for passage.
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