NEW DELHI: The government has notified the new Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules, 2021, defining eligibility criteria for termination of pregnancy up to 24 weeks against the previous limit of 20 weeks.
The eligible categories include survivors of sexual assault, rape or incest, minors, women with physical disabilities, mentally ill women, including those suffering from retardation and situations where the foetal malformation has substantial risk of being incompatible with life. This category also includes cases where it is assessed that if the child is born, he/she may suffer from physical or mental abnormalities and can be seriously handicapped.
The rules create space for women whose cases may be considered where there is change of marital status during the ongoing pregnancy like widowhood and divorce. The eligibility categorisation also includes cases of women with pregnancy in disaster or emergency situations as may be declared by the government.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 came into force with effect from September 24. The Act amends the 1971 MTP law, which regulates the conditions under which medical termination of pregnancy are to be pursued.
The opinion of registered medical practitioner, eligible as per the rules, is required for termination of pregnancy at different gestation ages up to 20 weeks. Opinion of two registered medical practitioners is required beyond 20 weeks till 24 weeks of gestation period.
The opinion for medical termination of pregnancy beyond 24 weeks gestation period will be given by a medical board constituted by respective state governments or UT administrations at approved facilities. Two registered medical practitioners eligible as per the MTP rules will perform the termination of pregnancy based on the decision of the medical board.
The rules stipulate that the medical board will have the power to allow or deny termination of pregnancy beyond 24 weeks of gestation period after due consideration and ensuring that the procedure would be safe for the woman.