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Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act: Centre notifies Rules allowing abortion up to 24 weeks

24th October 2021: The Central Government on Tuesday (October 12) announced the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules, 2021 which prolong the gestational deadline for the termination of a pregnancy from 20 to 24 weeks for some kinds of women. These rules have been mentioned under Section 6 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. Importantly, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules 2021, the women for whom the deadline has been increased added survivors of sexual assault, rape or incest, minors, those whose marital status differences during pregnancy (widowhood and divorce) and those with physical impediments.

The new rules also cover mentally ill women, causes of fetal abnormality in which there is a material risk of physical or mental irregularities and women in accidents or emergencies as claimed by the government.

These new rules fall under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, which was enacted by parliament in March this year.

Firstly, an abortion needed the view of one doctor if sold out within twelve weeks of interpretation and two doctors if done between twelve and twenty weeks. As per the new rules, state-level medical boards will be set up to decide if pregnancy may be discontinued after 24 weeks in cases of fetal abnormality where there is a material risk of variance with life, physical or mental irregularities or impediments.

The medical boards are to check the woman and her records and then either accept or reject the offer for medical termination of pregnancy within three days of receiving the application.

The boards also have to ensure that the abortion system, when told by them, is carried out with all regards accompanying with counselling. The method has to be done with five days of the board receiving the application for the same.


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