The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, paving way for easy abortion up to 20 weeks. The Bill also provides for setting up of state level Medical Boards to decide if a pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities.
The Bill was passed in March last year in the Lok Sabha. “A demand to send the bill to a select committee of Rajya Sabha was defeated by voice vote, along with some other amendments proposed by members. “The bill as amended is passed,” Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh said.
The Bill increases the time period within which abortion may be carried out. Currently, abortion requires the opinion of one doctor if it is done within 12 weeks of conception and two doctors if it is done between 12 and 20 weeks. The Bill allows abortion to be done on the advice of one doctor up to 20 weeks, and two doctors in the case of certain categories of women between 20 and 24 weeks.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the amendments in the bill have been made after studying global practices and wide consultation within the country. “Under the leadership of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we will not frame any law which harms women. This is to preserve and protect dignity of women,” he s