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  • IWB Post
  •  May 27, 2014


To become a mother is probably the most beautiful feeling. Holding her bundle of joy in her arms erases every pain she has gone through while conceiving and labour. But there are times when a doctor or sometimes mother herself has to decide upon what we call a woman’s worst nightmare – Abortion.

The emotional side effects of an abortion vary from one woman to another. Some women experience a sense of relief after it while for others; it is a journey through emotional and psychological hell.

Emotional and psychological effects are more common than physical side effects and can range from mild regret to more serious complications like depression. It is important to discuss these risks with a trained professional who can address a woman’s questions and concerns. Abortion and emotional side effect are just as real as physical side effects.

Safe Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) is a right of every woman but not many are aware of the fact that Indian Government has passed a law in 1971 which ensures safe MTP in cases which can pose medical as well as social danger to a woman’s health or dignity.

We have talked to Jaipur based Major Dr. Meeta Singh who served the Indian Army for 10 years and is now a social activist working for Girl child, HIV, Severe acute malnutrition in children. She has been also awarded Outstanding Woman Achiever Award by the National Commission for women 2012.

Women's Rights Meeta-singhDr. Meeta Singh threw some light on the MTP act 1971:

“The Indian abortion laws fall under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, which was enacted by the Indian Parliament in the year 1971 with the intention of reducing the incidence of illegal abortion and consequent maternal mortality and morbidity. The MTP Act came into effect from 1 April 1972 and was amended in the years 1975 and 2002.

Pregnancies not exceeding 12 weeks may be terminated based on a single opinion formed in good faith. In case of pregnancies exceeding 12 weeks but less than 20 weeks, termination needs opinion of two doctors. The MTP Act of India clearly states the conditions under which a pregnancy can be ended or aborted, the persons who are qualified to conduct the abortion and the place of implementation. Some of these qualifications are as follows:

  • Women whose physical and/or mental health is endangered by the pregnancy.
  • Women facing the birth of a potentially handicapped or malformed child.
  • Rape
  • Pregnancies in unmarried girls under the age of eighteen with the consent of a guardian.
  • Pregnancies in “lunatics” with the consent of a guardian.
  • Pregnancies that are a result of failure in sterilization.

Indian Government has also passed an act restricting prenatal diagnostics of sex in 1994 under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 (PNDT) no. 57, 1994.

Offences under PNDT include conducting or helping in the conduct of prenatal diagnostic technique in the unregistered units, sex selection on a man or a woman, conducting PND test for any purpose other than the one mentioned in the act, sale, distribution, supply, renting etc. of any ultra sound machine or any other equipment capable of detecting sex of the foetus. Main provisions in the act are:

  • The Act provides for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception.
  • It regulates the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques, like ultrasound and amniocentesis
  • No laboratory or centre or clinic will conduct any test including ultrasonography for the purpose of determining the sex of the foetus.
  • No person, including the one who is conducting the procedure as per the law, will communicate the sex of the foetus to the pregnant woman or her relatives by words, signs or any other method.
  • Any person who puts an advertisement for pre-natal and pre-conception sex determination facilities in the form of a notice, circular, label, wrapper or any document, or advertises through interior or other media in electronic or print form or engages in any visible representation made by means of hoarding, wall painting, signal, light, sound, smoke or gas, can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined Rs. 10,000.

Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 (PNDT), was amended in 2003 to The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition Of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT Act) to improve the regulation of the technology used in sex selection.”

While it felt powerful to know about this law in details, we also urged to be familiar with the Implications of this amendment. And here they are:

  • Amendment of the act mainly covered bringing the technique of pre conception sex selection within the ambit of the act.
  • Bringing ultrasound within its ambit.
  • Empowering the central supervisory board, constitution of state level supervisory board.
  • Provision for more stringent punishments
  • Empowering appropriate authorities with the power of civil court for search, seizure and sealing the machines and equipment of the violators.
  • Regulating the sale of the ultrasound machines only to registered bodies.

In a time when 60% of the news is about female foeticide where women are forced to go for abortions, we have to reinforce these acts again with more power so as to save mothers as well as baby girls from being killed ruthlessly by the demons of our society. Laws have been made. All that’s needed is their strict reinforcement. Spread the word about this law among your peers and home-help who do not have access to the information.

By Ruby Khan,

Jaipur Women Blog Journalist

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