The draft Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2014 is considered to be a step forward in ensuring rights of women. Do you agree? Enumerate the various merits it confers over the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971. 

The draft Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2014 is considered to be a step forward in ensuring rights of women. Do you agree? Enumerate the various merits it confers over the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971. 

Approach

  • Discuss how the medical termination bill 2014 is more aligned with needs of pregnant women.
  • Explain the merits of the new Bill over the old Act.
  • Conclude appropriately.
Model Answer :

Yes, the draft medical termination of pregnancy bill 2014 is a step forward in ensuring the reproductive rights of a woman as it recognises the reproductive right of a woman in light of article 21. It also enhances women’s choice to terminate pregnancy at later stages in genuine cases of congenital disorders or in cases of rape. The need for the amendments to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 is the news again due to case by case approach being taken by the Supreme Court in dealing with them.

 

The various merits of this draft Bill over the 1971 Act:

Ceiling:

  • MTP 1971 places a 20 weeks ceiling on term of pregnancy.
  • MTP Bill 2014 increases the legal limit on pregnancy termination to 24 weeks from earlier 20 weeks.

 

Cases with feotal abnormalities:

  • MTP 1971 does not permit termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks limit even in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities.
  • MTP Bill 2014 amends the section 3 in the original bill and provides that the length of pregnancy shall not apply in a decision to abort foetus with abnormality developed after 20 weeks, as conclusive determination of foetal abnormality is possible in most cases after the 20th week of gestational age.

 

Rape cases:

  • Under MTP 1971, even rape victims were not allowed to abort after 20 weeks which compelled them to move to court.
  • Under the new Bill, a woman can take an independent decision in consultation with a registered health-care provider.

 

Legal abortions:

  • The severe restrictions under MTP 1971 led to increased unsafe abortions and maternal deaths.
  • The amended act will increase the availability of safe and legal abortions in India.

 

Way forward: 

Foetal abnormalities show up only by 18 weeks, and some defects could be revealed after 20 weeks has passed. The Supreme Court held that only the legislature could address the demand for change in the legal limit. The Parliament must move at the earliest for the safety of mothers while achieving a balance between the reproductive rights of pregnant women and the rights of feotuses.

Subjects : Social Justice

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