Rajya Sabha on Tuesday amended the Medical termination bill i.e., Abortion Bill to extend the time period for the termination of foetus upto 24 weeks which was earlier set at 20 weeks.
This bill is the amendment of the Medical Termination bill, 1971 and was passed in Lok Sabha in March 2020.
This bill provides the right to women of special categories such as Rape survivors, victims of incest, differently abled, and minors to abort their child.
Although the bill has come as a relief to many women, opposition criticizes the bill saying that the bill still has not given any right of choice to the women as they need the nod of a doctor to sanction an abortion.
The opposition demanded that the Bill should be sent to the Parliamentary Select Committee for detailed scrutiny was defeated by a voice vote.
Currently, a woman requires the consent of one doctor if the abortion is done within 12 weeks while it requires opinions of 2 doctors for abortion till 20 weeks.
This amendment bill has allowed the consent of one doctor till 20 weeks while consent of 2 doctors from 20 to 24 weeks and for any abortion to be done after 24 weeks, consent of state-level medical board is required.
Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said that “The bill was created by keeping in mind the safety of women. After studying about it globally, consultations within the country and several pleas in the courts, the necessary changes were made in the bill”.
He further added that, “Under Narendra Modi’s leadership, no bill that harms women will be implemented. This bill will preserve and protect the dignity of women.”
Dr Anuradha Kapur, senior director and head of unit, Institute of obstetrics and gynaecology, Max Healthcare said that, “The changes made in this bill were much needed. Many times, we never come to know about the abnormalities of a child or complications to carry that child in the womb till 20 weeks.”
She further added that, “sometimes the scan needed to be done are done at 20th week and by the time, any complication or abnormality is known, the time period had passed. This bill gave that opportunity to the females as abortion is also safe upto 24 weeks.”