28th September 2023 - World Safe Abortion Day
The government of India has legalised abortion way back in 1971 with strict conditions & rules to prevent its misuse (MTP ACT 1971) and prevent illegal female foeticide. In Spite of abortion usually legal 60-70% of abortion in India is still unsafe ie. done by the wrong person and place. Women end up with life threatening complications like bleeding & infection (sepsis). So it is important that we have to be aware of it.
1) WHAT IS MTP?
Medical termination of Pregnancy (MTP) is a procedure to end a pregnancy. It can be done by taking medication or surgically.
2) WHAT ARE THE METHODS OF MTP?
MEDICAL ABORTION - is a procedure where medication is used to terminate a pregnancy,
It can be performed till the month, week of pregnancy. But the chances of incomplete abortion & bleeding is more after 7 weeks,
SURGICAL ABORTION - By a procedure called suction evacuation under local or general anaesthesia.
3) CAN A WOMAN DEMAND A TERMINATION?
Voluntary terminating a pregnancy is a criminal offence. The MTP Act 1971 authorises a Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) to terminate a pregnancy under certain grounds (less than 20 weeks).
4) TILL WHAT GESTATIONAL AGE CAN BE PREGNANCY BE TERMINATED?
From 20-24 weeks- pregnancy can be terminated under squeal circumstances.
5) IS CONSENT OF SPOUSE NECESSARY IN MTP?
Spousal consent is not necessary as per law. The woman's consent is enough.
In case the girl is a minor or mentally ill the consent of the guardian is required.
6) WHAT ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY?
By the law (MTP ACT) the woman's identity is kept confidential. A code file is made and all documents have to be kept secret.
CONCLUSION: The new law (MTP Amendment) Act 1971 is more progressive.
It empowers women & protects her Reproductive Rights. It is more sensitive towards women who are witness of sexual assault & Rape.
Women should be more AWARE and use these provisions and avoid risking these lives with unsafe Abortion.
Dr Anuradha Panda
Consultant Obstetrician & Gyneacologist, Lap & Robotic Surgeon,
Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad.