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Is Abortion legal in India?

In India, abortion is legal in certain situations, as abortion laws in India for unmarried girls, rape victim, and married women varies.[1]

When you terminate the pregnancy after the prescribed legal period for an abortion in India, it is called foeticides.[2] And when you terminate before that it is called abortion.[3]
The term abortion refers to the deliberate medical termination of pregnancy in India, which can be done in two ways: [4]

  1. Medical Abortion:

    A woman is less than seven weeks pregnant can undergo a medical abortion.[5] This process involves terminating a pregnancy with the help of pills and medications.[6] It is a non surgical method which one must do under the supervision of a physician.[7]

  2. Surgical Abortion:

    If a woman wishes to undergo an abortion beyond seven weeks of gestation, then one can perform a surgical abortion.[8] These are much more effective than a medical abortion, with a lower risk of an incomplete procedure.[9]


Is abortion legal in India for unmarried girls?

In India the legal age of the abortion for the unmarried girls is 18 years.
A Woman who is unmarried and over 18 years of age can provide her own written consent to get an abortion.[10] If a woman below 18 years then she give written consent. This consent has to come from her guardian along with a specific reason for the abortion of pregnancy.[11]

Is Abortion legal in India for rape victims?

Rape is one of the worst crime against women.[12] It not only harms woman physically but impacts her mentally and emotionally as well.[13]
Therefore, abortion is legal in India for rape victim.[14] Here the rape victims can also file the petition directly before the High court or Supreme court for the termination of pregnancy and demanding a legal abortion in India.[15]

Abortion law in India

Indian Penal Code:
As IPC also governs Indian abortion laws, so Sections 312 to 316 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 lays down situation.[16] These states as to when abortion is illegal and punishable under the law.[17] The law states that causing of a miscarriage woman is a crime under the code.[18]

Also, any person who voluntarily causes a woman with miscarriage will face punishment imprisoning up to 3 years and fine.[19] Especially, if such miscarriage is not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the women.[20]

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act:

It deal with the provisions of abortion laws in India. This act provides that you may terminate a pregnancy until the first 20 weeks of it with the approval of one medical practitioner. For abortion between 20-24 weeks of pregnancy , you require the approval of two medical practitioner.

Who can perform an abortion in India under the law?

While every medical institution which has the license to perform medically assisted abortions in India by the government must display an issuing certificate by the government as well.[21]

The doctor needs to have one of the following qualifications to perform an abortion:

  1. A registered medical practitioner who has performed at least 25 medically assisted termination of pregnancy in India.[22]
  2. A surgeon who has six months of experience in obstetrics and gynecology.[23]
  3. A surgeon who has six months of experience in obstetrics and gynecology.[24]
  4. A Doctor who has registration before enactment the MTP Act,1971 and who has three years of experience in obstetrics and gynecology. [25]

End-Notes:

  1. MYADVO, Antim Amlan , civil, Is Abortion legal in India?,12-sep-2019, https://www.myadvo.in/
  2. - 25: Ibid

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