The Union Cabinet on Wednesday extended the upper limit for the abortions, allowing it to 24 weeks now, from current 20 weeks. At a Cabinet briefing today, the Union Minister Prakash Javadekar told media mentioning the extension as a progressive reform to give reproductive rights to women over their bodies.

In a progressive reform and giving reproductive rights to women, the limit of 20 weeks of medical termination of pregnancy has been increased to 24 weeks, said Javadekar. He added that this is important because in the first five months there are cases where the girl concerned doesn’t realise and has to go to the court. The Union Minister then said that it was demanded by several women and doctors.

The government gave nod to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill, 1971. Now, the Bill will be tabled in the next session of the Parliament.

For more information, about four months ago the centre told the Supreme Court that right to reproductive autonomy did not exceed State’s interest in saving the life of a foetus and 20-week limit could not be increased in a manner that encompasses all the things into consideration.

This extension for abortion will also help rape victims, girls with disabilities as well as minors, who may not realise they are pregnant until later, said Javadekar in his statement.

In September 2019, reverting to the plea that dared the constitutional validity of a law that approved the ceiling of an abortion to only 20 weeks, the Central government said the State was bound to amend any reform as the head of its citizens, to safeguard the foetus’ life in mother’s womb after it reaches the stage of viability.

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