Upper limit of legal abortion

Upper limit of legal abortion


  • The central government on October 13, 2021 increased the upper limit of legal abortion to 24 weeks from earlier 20 weeks for special categories of women.
  • The centre notified the new rules under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules, 2021, which was passed by the Parliament on March 16, 2021 after a nod from the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha had already passed the bill on March 17, 2020.
  • The 24-week upper limit of legal abortions is in line with the advancements in medical technology that allows removal of foetus at a relatively advanced stage of pregnancy.
  • However, the rules will only apply for women and minors who have suffered rape, incest or sexual assault or those who have mental illnesses or disabilities.

 Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment bill: Key Features

  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 seeks to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
  • It proposes requirement of one doctor’s consent for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation and introducing requirement of two doctors’ consent for termination of pregnancy up to 20-24 weeks of gestation.
  • The amended bill proposes increasing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women such as vulnerable women including survivors of rape, victims of incest and others such as differently-abled women and minors.
  • Under the amendment bill, the upper gestation limit will not apply in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities.
  • The bill seeks for formation of a state-level medical board, which will decide if a pregnancy can be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of foetal malformation. 
  • The medical board will examine the woman and her reports and then provide an opinion on terminating the pregnancy within three days of receiving the request.
  • The board will also ensure that abortion is carried out safely within five days of receiving the request for termination of pregnancy.
  • The composition, functions and other details of the Medical Board will be prescribed subsequently in Rules under the Act.
  • Further, the name and other details of the woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed except to a person authorised by the law.


  • The proposed amendments in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill aim to expand women’s access to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, social and humanitarian grounds.
  • The amendments include the substitution of certain sub-sections, insertion of certain new clauses under some sections in the existing abortion act with a view to increase upper gestation limit for termination of pregnancy under certain conditions and to strengthen access to comprehensive abortion care under strict conditions, without compromising service and quality of safe abortion.


  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment bill aims to ensure the safety and well-being of women.
  • The proposed increase in gestation limit will ensure dignity, autonomy, confidentiality and justice for women who need to terminate their pregnancy.


  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare proposed the amendments in the termination of pregnancy bill after extensive consultation with various stakeholders and several ministries.
  • The move aims to increases the access of women to safe abortion services, taking into account the advances made in medical technology.
  • Recently, several petitions were submitted to the Courts, seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at a gestational age beyond the current permissible limit on grounds of foetal abnormalities or pregnancies due to sexual violence faced by women.
  • The Union Cabinet had approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill on January 29, 2020 under the chairmanship of PM Narendra Modi. 

yojna ias daily current affairs 14 Oct 2021

No Comments

Post A Comment