Pregnancy law will be tweaked soon, Centre tells Madras High Court

Medical method of abortion services are available at primary health centres: State Health Secretary Beela Rajesh | File photo from PTI

The central government on Thursday informed the Madras High Court bench here that the Health Ministry will again initiate the process for amending the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.

The submission was made in a petition the court initiated on its own, asking the Centre as to when the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act would be amended increasing the upper gestation limit for legal abortions from 20 to 24 weeks as per a proposed draft.

The Centre’s counsel said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) will again initiate the process for amending the 1971 act and a final draft Cabinet note has been forwarded to authorities following MoHFW’s nod.

The Tamil Nadu Government submitted that the risk to the mother (during a termination of a pregnancy that stretched beyond 20 weeks) increased in proportion to the gestational age.

To a question raised by the court, it said there was no single medicine to prevent the development of a defective foetus.

Drugs were, however, available for terminating pregnancy through allopathy while other systems of medicine did not have abortion care in their respective curriculum.

The medical method of abortion services are available at PHCs (primary health centres), state Health Secretary Beela Rajesh said.

Factors like a rape victim’s condition, the risks involved in termination of pregnancy and delivery (if the pregnancy was continued) has to be examined by a medical board, the state government pointed out.

Arrangements were in place for post-care counselling, including psychiatric counselling, it said.

In March 2018, then Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey had told the Lok Sabha that the upper gestational limit for termination of pregnancy for survivors of rape was proposed to be increased from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.


Author: Josep