ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Need to Amend MTP Act

The fact, that on an average 10 women die every day in India due to unsafe abortion procedures, as quoted in the editorial (“Right to Safe Abortion Care,” EPW, 4 March 2017) is alarming for a transitioning country like India. The deliberations over amending the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 reflect the changing scenario and urgent need for an act which could address the present situation. The right to abortion has both legal as well as sociocultural implications. In normal conditions, the termination of pregnancy is not so complicated. However, in exceptional cases, especially when a rape victim wants to terminate her pregnancy, it is an entirely different issue as it entails mental trauma and social stigma.

It is alarming that a rape survivor is unable to abort despite the explicit consent of the woman and her family members. It is difficult to understand that on the one hand, the girl is held responsible for her plight, and on the other, the system is such that she is forced to carry the pregnancy to term. The medical report may be justified on the grounds that termination at the given stage of pregnancy may be lethal for the girl, but it should also be noticed that if the girl’s age is less than 18 years it may be lethal for her. The kinds of problems a rape survivor would have to face by giving birth at a premature age are unimaginable. Sometimes, the rape victims’ requests for abortion at an earlier stage would have been possible to act on, but for the lengthy and lackadaisical approach of the officials and delays to the extent that it becomes difficult to abort.

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Updated On : 17th Mar, 2017
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