The central government has notified new rules under which the upper limit for termination of a pregnancy has been increased from 20 to 24 weeks for certain categories of women.
The new rules come under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 passed by Parliament earlier this year.
Under the new rules, seven specific categories will be eligible for termination of pregnancy up to 24 weeks:
- Survivors of sexual assault or rape or incest;
- Change of marital status during the ongoing pregnancy (widowhood and divorce);
- Women with physical disabilities;
- Mentally ill women;
- Foetal malformation that has a substantial risk of being incompatible with life or if the child is born, he/ she may suffer from serious physical or mental abnormalities;
- Women with pregnancy in humanitarian settings or disaster or emergency situations.
The new rules say a state-level medical board will be set up to decide if a pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of foetal malformation.
According to the new rules of government, this board will also examine the woman and her reports if she approaches for medical termination of pregnancy, and provide an opinion on this within three days of receiving the request.
The board has also been tasked to ensure that the termination procedure is carried out with all safety precautions along with appropriate counselling within five days of the receipt of the request for abortion.
Earlier, an abortion required the opinion of one doctor if carried out within twelve weeks of conception and two doctors if done between twelve and twenty weeks.
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