[Answered] Despite amendments, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act does not foreground the woman’s right to decide. Examine the statement.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some points about the existing rules of abortion. Compare the approaches of deep ecologism and shallow ecologism.
Conclusion: write some suggestions.

In 1971, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act was enacted. This law has been amended twice since and the 2021 amendment has expanded the scope of the law. The law provides for a set of reasons based on which abortion can be accessed.

After amendments, now the gestational limit for termination of a pregnancy has been increased from 20 to 24 weeks for certain categories of women and the doctor, who determines an abortion, needs to be a registered medical practitioner. Although some of the issues in the previous laws have been addressed with the amendments, but the following issues in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act do not recognize women’s right in deciding pregnancy:

  • The law does not recognise the right of a pregnant person to decide on the discontinuation of a pregnancy.
  • Abortion is not allowed post 20 weeks of pregnancy except under special conditions.
  • In KS Puttaswamy vs Union of India, the Supreme Court recognised women’s right to make reproductive choices as part of Article 21. But existing abortion laws do not recognise it.
  • The law does not accommodate non-medical concerns of women like economic costs of raising a child, effects on career decisions, or any other personal considerations.
  • The extended gestational limit is applicable to only certain categories of women.

Way forward:

  • Access to safe abortion services must be strengthened by adequate infrastructure and availability of trained professionals.
  • The right to safe abortion is an important part of women’s right to bodily integrity and it needs to be protected.
  • The right to choose abortion has support in guarantees of life and health, freedom from discrimination and autonomy in reproductive decision-making.
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