Yesterday a 14-year-old girl applied for permission to terminate her 26-week pregnancy. The girl alleged that she was raped by her relative. In this regard, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India asked the Medical Council of the State Government Hospital for medical advice to provide an answer on whether or not the abortion would be possible. This should be done within a week of their health being diagnosed.
In recent years there have been many questions about the termination of pregnancy, which has passed the 20 week mark. The 1971 Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act prohibited abortion from being performed if the fetus had passed the 20 week mark. However, an exception to the law must be made if a registered doctor certifies to a court that the continued pregnancy is life-threatening for the mother.
There have been major protests against this law as it severely limits a woman’s reproductive choice, personal freedom, and physical autonomy. Several affected women, particularly those who survived rape, have appealed against this law to the Supreme Court. However, the court treated each case differently and based on the facts and circumstances of the case. Three years ago, the Supreme Court even admitted a petition seeking decriminalization of abortion.
In recent years, new bills have been proposed frequently in the past to amend Section 3 of the Medical Abortion Act 1971 to remove the gestational limit for termination of a fetus diagnosed with “significant fetal abnormalities” ”. With this, the Union Cabinet also approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act of 2020, which proposed new clauses to increase the upper limit of pregnancy for termination of pregnancy.