“A liberal Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act was passed in India 48 years ago, in 1971. It has stayed in a “time warp” since, ignoring the advancement in medical technology. It is time, now more than ever, to amend the MTP Act, make it women centred, rights based and contemporary so that women in India can safeguard their health and exercise their sexual and reproductive rights”, VS Chandrashekar, CEO, FRHS India.

This week the Pratigya Secretariat is using the Facebook and Twitter handles: @PratigyaRights and @RightsPratigya to track how the Act came into being, when it came into being and how it has stagnated. We are also showcasing quotes from our Campaign Advisory Group members.

#TimeforChange #48yearsofMTP

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP) was passed by the parliament on August 10, 1971 to allow abortion up to 20 weeks under certain conditions. Prior to the MTP Act, induced abortion was a criminal offence under Sections 312-316 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) except when the continuation of pregnancy put the woman’s life in danger.

After the MTP Act came into force, the conditions under which abortions were permitted were quite liberal and it was touted as a historic day for women’s health. However, since that day not much has changed, despite advancement in technologies and the changing abortion landscape in India.

In 2014, the Government of India released the draft MTP amendment bill to do the following:

  • Allow first trimester abortion on demand (a right)
  • Expand provider base to include qualified and trained nurses and indigenous system of medicine providers to provide first trimester abortions
  • Permit failure of contraceptives as a ground for all women, not just married women
  • Increase the gestation limit to 24 weeks for fetal abnormalities and rape
  • The bill, if passed can bring much needed reform, however it is yet to be placed in Parliament. Through the week-long social media campaign, Pratigya Campaign is tracking the timeline and drawing attention to the MTP Act and how amendments can breathe fresh life into the outdated Act.

You can follow this week’s Pratigya Campaign via the Facebook and Twitter channels: @PratigyaRights and @RightsPratigya respectively. They are also using the hashtags: #VoiceforChoice #PratigyaRights #TimeforChange and #48yearsofMTP.