Abortion and its legality in India

Abortion means termination/ending of an undesired pregnancy by removing the fetus and placenta from the mother’s womb (uterus). It is also known as the Medical Abortion.

Abortion and its legality in India

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Abortion means termination/ending of an undesired pregnancy by removing the fetus and placenta from the mother’s womb (uterus). It is also known as the Medical Abortion.

There are only two types of Abortions:

01. Medicinal Abortion- Medicinal Abortion is a non-surgical method performed with medicines (mifepristone and misoprostol) usually done by the patients at home. The first pill mifepristone disrupts the pregnancy. Misoprostol, the second medicine is used at home 24-48 hours later to make the uterus contract and push out the pregnancy and blood. It is usually prescribed in pregnancy lesser than 6 weeks but still the success rate is quite low.

The disadvantage of this abortion is that the patient has to bear severe pain as strong cramping with heavy bleeding and clots are common during the process and it is not advisable for the anaemic patients.

02. Surgical Abortion- means dilating the opening of the uterus (cervix) and placing a small suction tube into the uterus to remove the fetus and placenta from the uterus. It’s a very safe, simple & painless procedure of five to ten minutes done under short general anesthesia in an operation theatre without giving any incisions/cuts, stitches or scarring.

In this procedure, the patient doesn’t feel any pain & constantly remains under the supervision of expert gynaecologist, anesthetist & OT technicians during the process. Nonetheless, the staff nurse takes care of the patient after the procedure until she becomes stable & feels good. The positive aspect of this procedure is that that recovery rate is higher and the patient generally gets discharged after one-two hour after completing of the procedure.

Legality of MTP/Abortions in India

There is a general misconception or lack of clarity about getting a Medical Termination of Pregnancy or abortion in India. Many women or couples are not aware that it is legal in India since 1971. As per Section 3 of the MTP Act 1971, where any pregnancy occurs as a result of failure of any contraceptive device and the woman doesn’t want to continue with the pregnancy as deem it to be unwanted & having desire to get it terminated, then the woman is having a legal right to get it terminated by the Registered Medical Practitioner at the abortion or MTP centre approved by the Government of India.

Abortions/MTP is allowed by the law in the following cases:

  • When there is personal decision of the couple not to carry/continue the pregnancy. (The consent of the wife is mandatory and if the girl is minor then the consent of the guardian on behalf of her is mandatory).
  • When there is a birth defect or genetic problem in the baby due to unknown reasons.
  • When carrying pregnancy is harmful to the health of the mother (Therapeutic Abortion).
  • When the pregnancy resulted after a traumatic events like rape or incest.

It is important to understand that the undesired or unwanted pregnancy can be terminated only at the Govt. hospitals or the private medical centres approved/registered by the Govt of Delhi. Dr. Rupali’s Medical & Diagnostics is an approved medical centre in South Delhi by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi for conducting abortions/MTP.

It is further important that no abortions/MTP can be done at unapproved places & in case if any abortion (medical or surgical) performed at unapproved place/facility or medical centre by the doctors/owners, then it’s a criminal act under MTP Act which may lead to 5 years imprisonment to the doctors and owner of the unapproved place.