Journal of Forensic Science and Medicine

LETTER TO EDITOR
Year
: 2021  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 109-

Amendments to the abortion law in India: Is it progressive enough?


Smitha Rani 
 Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, JSS Medical College, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Smitha Rani
Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, JSS Medical College, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Sri Shivarathreeshwara Nagar, Bannimantap, Mysore - 570 015, Karnataka
India




How to cite this article:
Rani S. Amendments to the abortion law in India: Is it progressive enough?.J Forensic Sci Med 2021;7:109-109


How to cite this URL:
Rani S. Amendments to the abortion law in India: Is it progressive enough?. J Forensic Sci Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 20 ];7:109-109
Available from: https://www.jfsmonline.com/text.asp?2021/7/3/109/326800


Full Text



Sir,

Abortion was legally made available in India through the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971, which permitted the pregnancy to be terminated under specific criteria, such as: to save a woman's life; to protect her physical and mental wellbeing; when there is an economic and social necessity; and in cases of contraception failure between married couples. The Act set the gestational limit for abortion at 20 weeks and when the length of pregnancy exceeded the permissible limit, abortions were performed only with prior permission from the courts or in emergency circumstances, when the life of the women is in danger.[1] Across the globe, over 20 European countries have recognized that whenever there is a physical or mental threat to the women, that can be considered as a ground for abortion irrespective of gestational age.[2] India saw a key change in abortion policies with the introduction of The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021. This Act is hailed to be progressive legislation since the existing gestation limit is increased to 24 weeks. The law also empowers women to seek abortion anytime during the pregnancy; even after completion of the prescribed gestational age limit, provided there are substantial fetal abnormalities. These substantial fetal abnormalities need to be confirmed by the Medical Board. The increased gestational age limit, along with advanced medical technologies, is favorable for women to have safe and effective abortions. The law also permits abortions on the ground of contraceptive failure even among unmarried women which were earlier restricted to the married couple.[3] The law does not recognize the woman's will to opt for abortion. It is opined that legislation that envisages the need to safeguard “dignity, autonomy, confidentiality, and justice for women who need to terminate a pregnancy” is not catering for the same since the power still lies in the hands of the doctor, because it continues to require approval from the doctors and such approvals can be given only under preset clauses.[4] Reproductive freedom of women continues to remain submissive to medical and legal rule.[5] The amendments proposed to the Act are a welcome change for women who need to legally terminate their pregnancies. The strategies and policies, relevant to the effective implementation of this Act, still need to be drafted.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971. Available from: https://tcw. nic.in/Acts/MTP-Act-1971.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 04].
2Ensuring Reproductive Rights. Reform to Address Women's and Girls' Need for Abortion after 20 Weeks in India. Available from: https://reproductiverights.org/sites/default/files/documents/Post-20-Week-Access-to-Abortion-India-0218.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 04].
3The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021. Available from: https://images.assettype.com/barandbench/2021-03/0f2e3448-c69e-4242-8855-7a015656721c/Medical_Termination_of_Pregnancy__Amendment__Act__2021.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 04].
4Barua A, Rastogi A, Deepa V, Jain D, Gupte M, Mallik R, et al. The MTP 2020 amendment bill: Anti-rights subjectivity. Sex Reprod Health Matters 2020;28:1795447.
5Grover V. The Amendments in the MTP Act bill are flawed-analysis. Hindustan Times, February 28, 2020, News. Available from: https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/the-amendments-in-the-mtp-act-bill-are-flawed-analysis/story-H0DZJUAWWopQZKPzbLXyJL.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 04].