New rules under which pregnancy can be terminated up to 24 weeks for certain categories


The government has notified new rules under which the upper limit for termination of a pregnancy has been increased from 20 to 24 weeks for certain categories of women. The new rules come under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 passed by Parliament earlier this year. The eligible categories include survivors of sexual assault, rape or incest, minors, women with physical disabilities, mentally ill women, including those suffering from retardation, and situations where the foetal malformation has a substantial risk of being incompatible with life. This category also includes cases where it is assessed that if the child is born, he/she may suffer from physical or mental abnormalities and can be seriously handicapped.

Earlier, abortion required the opinion of one doctor if done within 12 weeks of conception and two doctors if done between 12 and 20 weeks. According to the new rules, a state-level medical board will be set up to decide if pregnancy may be terminated beyond this period.

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