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Daily Current Affairs – 2020
Topic: For Prelims and Mains
Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020
Why in News?
The Delhi High Court has directed the Medical Superintendent of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) to constitute a medical board to examine the condition of a 25-week pregnant woman, whose foetus is suffering from serious abnormalities.
The court’s direction came while hearing a petition by a woman seeking permission to undergo medical termination of her 25-week pregnancy on the ground that the foetus was suffering from Bilateral Agenesis and Anlyaramni.
In India, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act stipulates a ceiling of 20 weeks, for termination of pregnancy, beyond which abortion of a foetus is statutorily impermissible.
The plea said during an ultra sonography, conducted on the woman at the gestational age of 25 weeks, it was discovered that the foetus suffered from Bilateral Renal Agenesis (both kidneys absent) thereby making it incompatible with life.
Since pregnancy had crossed the 20 weeks mark and medical termination of pregnancy now prohibited, the woman approached the court.
The woman’s counsel said that the foetus would not survive till childbirth as both the kidneys have not developed as yet. The counsel said in the circumstances it would be futile to compel the woman to undergo the full terms of pregnancy.
It is related to abortion, procedures and conditions of abortion.
India does not allow free abortions, only when there is a risk of life or substantial abnormalities of child. Hence certification of Medical practitioner.
Amendments to MTP Act, 1971
It seeks to enhance the upper gestation period from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women that will be defined. Extension is important as in 1st 5 months of pregnancy, some women realise the need to abortion very late.
Usually foetal anatomy scan is done during 20-21st week of pregnancy.
It will include vulnerable women including survivor of rape, victims of incest.
Difference between 1971 Act and 2020 Bill
1971 Act allowed termination of pregnancy for 20 weeks. But 2020 Bill says 24 weeks.
If substantial physical and mental injury to child, or if pregnancy risks or is a grave injury to life of mother, then she can abort.
If the termination is for < 12 weeks then 1 Medical practitioner’s permission is required. If it is in between 12 to 24 weeks, 2 Medical If > 24 weeks then Medical Board’s permission is needed.
According to Section 3(2); Abortion extended to only failure of married women or husband. This is replaced by “A woman and her partner”.
Her identity should not be disclose except to a person who is authorised by the law. If it is breached then penalty of 1 year or fine or both.
MTP Act divides the regulatory framework for allowing abortions into categories, according to Gestational age of foetus.
Facts for Prelims
SAHAYAK-NG is India’s first indigenously designed and developed air-to-surface container.
Auxiliary-NG, the newly developed GPS-backed container is capable of carrying weights of up to 50 kg and can be lowered to the surface from a heavy aircraft.
The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) along with the Indian Navy carried out the first successful flight test of ‘Sahay-NG’ in the seas off the coast of Goa.