LS passes Bill to raise limit for abortions till 24 weeks for special categories

The “special categories of women” include rape survivors, victims of incest, the differently abled and minors, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said moving the Bill.

March 17, 2020 10:38 pm | Updated 10:59 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A view of the Parliament building in New Delhi on July 15, 2019.

A view of the Parliament building in New Delhi on July 15, 2019.

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a Bill to extend the upper limit for permitting abortions from 20 weeks to 24 under special circumstances.

The “special categories of women” include rape survivors, victims of incest, the differently abled and minors, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said moving the Bill.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which seeks to amend the MTP Act, 1971, was passed by a voice vote after a debate that lasted two-and-a-half hours. Though Opposition members had moved amendments, they were defeated.

Also read: Data | How many countries allow abortion on request, where is abortion completely prohibited, and more

 

Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamool called the Bill a step in the right direction and offered several suggestions. She said that an anomalous foetus could be identified by a ultrasound scan within 16 to 18 weeks instead of waiting for 24 weeks.

Ritesh Pandey of the BSP and Amol R. Kolhe said abortion should be considered a fundamental right of a woman.

Opposing the Bill, Dean Kuriakose of the Congress said unrestricted abortions should not be encouraged as “abortions are a crime against humanity”.

Watch | Abortion laws across the world

 

P. Raveendranath Kumar of the AIADMK urged the Minister to increase the number of medical college seats in view of the low number of gynaecologists.

Unsafe abortions were a major reason for mortality of pregnant women, he added.

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