What is MTP Act, 1971 and Features, Background and Amendments

Medical Termination of Pregnancy, MTP Act

Background of MTP act:

The Indian penal code(enacted in 1860  a law(British law)  declared that induced abortion would be illegal with the exception being made if abortion is done to protect the life of women. Because of these 2 things happened:

1.illegal abortion rate went up

2.went against the plans for population control.

So in 1964, Indian government-appointed The Abortion study committee and based on its recommendations the Parliament has enacted MTP act with the dual aim of reducing illegal abortion and reducing maternity mortality.

Features of MTP act,1971:

1     The act permits a woman to terminate her pregnancy only after consulting RMP(registered medical practitioner) within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

2     The opinion of 2 doctors is needed if the termination is between 12-20 weeks.

3     It defines the conditions on which the termination can be made, and the qualified persons to perform the same.

Recent issues:

It goes against the women s right to autonomy and self-determination.

Doesn’t take into factors like separation, death of partner, rape survivor, financial conditions ( even in these cases the termination cannot be extended after 20 weeks exception only if  that possess a severe threat to the life of the mother )

Social pressure s like living in denial, late decision making, etc

Irrational as certain abnormalities become conspicuous only during late-term pregnancy.

Need for amendment:

Article -21 defines the right to live with dignity which allows women to have the independent choice on right to reproduction, but in the present act, it is denied.

The availability of safe and legal abortions in India is outnumbering the illegal abortions.

Way forward:

Education, awareness, and counselling with strict regulations are to be made.

Termination beyond 20 weeks must be made legal in exceptional cases.

The need for RMP before 12 weeks shouldn’t be made mandatory

Midlevel providers are to be employed for the second trimester and certification should be given for allowing abortion by one provider against the two.

Read: Commercial Surrogacy in India

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