The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021- A Summary
As per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 was amended. As per S. 3 of the Act, a pregnancy may be terminated by a registered medical practitioner, where the length of the pregnancy does not exceed twenty weeks or where the length of the pregnancy exceeds twenty weeks but does not exceed twenty-four weeks. In the first case a medial practitioner and in the second case two medical practitioners shall be of the opinion that, if the pregnancy is continued, would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health. In cases where they are of the opinion that, there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from any serious physical or mental abnormality, also termination of pregnancy is allowed. As per the explanations provided in S. 3, for the termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks, if the pregnancy occurred "as a result of failure of any device or method used by any woman or her partner for the purpose of limiting the number of children or preventing pregnancy" then the anguish caused due to such a pregnancy may have to be presumed to "constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman". For both scenarios, that is termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks or 24 weeks, if the pregnancy is "alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, the anguish caused by the pregnancy shall be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman." As per the Amendment Act there has to be a Medical Board constituted in the Centre as well as in the States. The Amendment Act also prohibits the revealing of "the name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated under this Act except to a person authorised by any law for the time being in force."
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 was described as a "historic move to provide universal access reproductive health services" by the World Health Organisation. The Central government has already issued the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules, 2021 in tune with the 2021 Amendment Act.