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Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Bill, 2020

Topics Covered: Issues related to Women.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Bill, 2020:


Context:

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Bill, 2020 was passed in Lok Sabha in March 2020, and is likely to be brought before Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session.

The Bill proposes several amendments, including the constitution of a Medical Board in every State and UT.

  • The board will decide on pregnancies beyond 24 weeks in cases of foetal abnormalities.
  • Each board will have one gynaecologist, one radiologist or sonologist, one paediatrician, and other members prescribed by the State/UT government.

What’s the issue now?

As per the latest study, creation of this board is “unfeasible” as 82% of posts are lying vacant in the country.

Highlights of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Bill, 2020:

  1. It seeks to extend the upper limit for permitting abortions from 20 weeks to 24 under special circumstances.
  2. The “special categories of women” include rape survivors, victims of incest, the differently abled and minors.
  3. The Bill proposes requirement of opinion of one registered medical practitioner (RMP) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation.
  4. It also provides for the requirement of opinion of two RMPs for termination of pregnancy of 20 to 24 weeks.

Need for overhaul:

  • The present abortion law, which is about five decades old, permits abortion up to a maximum foetal gestation period of 20 weeks.
  • In recent years, there have been strong demands to raise the foetal gestation period for abortion beyond 20 weeks.

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InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Provisions in the new bill vs 1971 act.
  2. Time limit for abortion in India vs other countries.
  3. Contraceptive-failure clause.
  4. Constitution and composition of Medical Board.

Mains Link:

Discuss how Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 strives to provide reproductive rights to women in India.

Sources: the Hindu.