Abortion laws in India vary for unmarried girls, rape victims, and married women; therefore, abortion is legal in some circumstances. Abortion rates in India decreased when the country’s abortion laws made it unlawful to determine the sex of the foetus due to an increase in infanticide and femicide crimes. Whether it’s legal or not, a lot of people have inquired about India’s abortion laws. Our blog provides detailed information about these laws.

under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, in India, which is the law relating to abortion defines it as an untimely termination of the foetus. There is a specified legal time for abortion in India and when you don’t follow it, it’s a punishable offense.

The term abortion refers to the deliberate medical termination of pregnancy in India, which can be done in two ways – medical or surgical.

1. Medical Abortion: A woman who is less than seven weeks pregnant can undergo a medical abortion. This process involves terminating a pregnancy with help of pills and medications. It is a non-surgical method which one must do under the supervision of a physician.

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

What are abortion laws in India?

1. Indian Penal Code – Till 1971, Indian Penal Code (IPC) provided for the provisions of abortion in India. Legally, however, IPC does not provide for direct provisions related to abortion. But it does deal with miscarriage under section 312 to 316 of the code.

2. Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act – Also known as the abortion act in India. It deals with the provisions of abortion laws in India. The act provides that you may terminate a pregnancy until the first 12 weeks of it with the approval of a medical practitioner. For abortion between 12-20 weeks of pregnancy, you require the approval of two medical practitioners. The approval is mandatory to make sure that abortion taking place is in accordance with the laws in India or not. The act does not provide for sex-selective abortions.

Who can perform an Abortion in India under the Law?

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

*A registered medical practitioner who has performed at least 25 medically assisted termination of pregnancy in India.

*A surgeon who has six months of experience in obstetrics and gynaecology.

*A person who has a diploma or degree in obstetrics and gynaecology.

*A doctor who has registration before enactment the MTP Act, 1971 and who has three years of experience in obstetrics and gynaecology.

When is abortion legal in India?

In India, abortion is permissible in certain situations but prohibited in others. According to Indian abortion laws, consent from parents or spouses is not required if the intended beneficiary is an adult.

Although there is no legal age limit for abortion in India, the maximum number of weeks that can be taken out legally is 12. In India, abortion is permissible if signed by a single medical professional during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Therefore, with the approval of two licenced medical professionals, you may proceed with the procedure up until the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy but not later than 20 weeks.

Is Abortion Legal in India for Unmarried Girls?

With a rise in the number of pregnancies amongst unmarried girls, the abortion laws in India provide an answer to this question.

The abortion laws in India for unmarried girls state that the legal age of abortion is 18 years.

A woman who is unmarried and over 18 years of age can provide her own written consent to get an abortion. Legal age if below 18 years, then you must have written consent. This consent has to come from her guardian along with a specific reason for the abortion of pregnancy.

The legal abortion time period in India is 12 weeks of the foetus for any unmarried girl, by any registered medical practitioner. But, if a woman is mentally unstable, then there must be written consent from her guardian as per the MTP Act, 1971.

In absence of any of these conditions or permissions, abortion is illegal in India under this Act.

Is Abortion Legal in India for Rape Victims?

Rape is one of the worst crime against women. It not only harms women physically but impacts her mentally and emotionally as well.

The crime of rape when leaves the victim pregnant, it becomes unbearable for her. Also, she might not feel the motherly instincts of raising the child with love.

Therefore, abortion is legal in India for rape victims. 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. Even if the pregnancy has lapsed 20 weeks of the legal abortion period

In recent times, it has been that various petitions have been filed by the rape victims between 10-16 years of age. Even certain petitions have got an allowance from the court, where it did not harm the health or life of the pregnant women. But where the health or life of the pregnant women was at stake, the court does not allow for the abortion procedure.

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