India becomes a leading advocate for abortion rights in South Asia region
The passage of Medical Abortion of Termination (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the upper house of Indian parliament is a progressive decision and victory for women’s rights. We congratulate the Indian government and the civil society. India has now become the only country in South Asia region to provide abortion beyond 20 weeks. This will have an impact beyond India’s borders-- for the region-wide movement on legal, accessible and safe abortion.
The change in Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, allows to extend the upper limit for medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks, from the present stipulation of 20 weeks, for certain categories of women. These categories will include 'vulnerable women', rape survivors, victims of incest, pregnancies with foetal abnormalities and minors.
While this win inspires us and other sexual and reproductive rights organizations, we hope action is taken to ensure all inequalities in access to abortion are addressed--- not only the polices but services are also designed to meet the needs of all.
Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General of Family Planning Association of India (IPPF Member Association in India), said:
"The amendments to the MTP Act were much awaited and they would advance the reproductive healthcare agenda for women. The expanded access to safe abortions up to 24 weeks is great enabler helping women to exercise their reproductive rights. However, the full potential of these amendments can only become a reality if followed by appropriate systems strengthening. FPA India is committed to work towards translating these amendments as reality through grassroots level collective action."
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