Is abortion legal in India.? Abortion in India has been legal under various circumstances since the introduction of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, in 1971. When you terminate the pregnancy after the prescribed legal period for an abortion in India, it is called foeticides and when you terminate before that it is called abortion.

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

Medical Abortion:

A woman who is less than seven weeks pregnant can undergo a medical abortion. This process involves terminating a pregnancy with the help of pills and medications. It is a nonsurgical method that one must do under the supervision of a physician.

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.

Abortion law in India

Indian Penal Code:

As IPC also governs Indian abortion laws, Sections 312 to 316 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 lays down the situation. These states are where abortion is illegal and punishable under the law. The law states that causing of a miscarriage woman is a crime under the code. Also, any person who voluntarily causes a woman to miscarriage will face punishment imprisonment of up to 3 years and a fine. Especially, if such miscarriage is not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman.

abortion legal

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act:

It deals with the provisions of abortion laws in India. This act provides that you may terminate a pregnancy until the first 20 weeks of it with the approval of one medical practitioner. For abortion between 20-24 weeks of pregnancy, you require the approval of two medical practitioners.

Is abortion legal in India for unmarried girls?

In India, the legal age of abortion for unmarried girls is 18 years.
A Woman who is unmarried and over 18 years of age can provide her own written consent to get an abortion. If a woman is below 18 years then she gives written consent. This consent has to come from her guardian along with a specific reason for the abortion of pregnancy.

Is Abortion legal in India for rape victims?

Rape is one of the worst crimes against women. It not only harms women physically but impacts them mentally and emotionally as well. Therefore, abortion is legal in India for rape victims. Here the rape victims can also file a petition directly before the High Court or Supreme Court for the termination of pregnancy and demand a legal abortion in India.

Who can perform an abortion in India under the law?

While every medical institution which has the license to perform medically assisted abortions in India by the government must display an issuing certificate by the government as well.

Can I get an abortion because the sex of the fetus is female?

It is a crime to get an abortion because you or your family do not want a girl child. If you get an abortion after you come to know the sex of the fetus, you can be punished with jail time of up to three or seven years depending on the stage of pregnancy (Section 312 IPC 1860). However, please remember that abortion is otherwise legal (subject to conditions mentioned in questions 2 and 3) – it is abortion which follows sex determination that is unlawful.

Who can be punished for committing an illegal abortion?

  • Abortion of under 4 to 5 months pregnancy – The punishment for getting an illegal abortion is jail time of up to 3 years and/or a fine. Both you and your doctor are considered to have committed a crime unless it was done in good faith to save your life.
  • Abortion over 5-month pregnancy – If abortion takes place when you can sense the movement of the fetus, the punishment is higher. This is generally known as quickening and usually takes place between 17 and 20 weeks. Both you and your doctor can be punished with jail time of up to seven years and a fine unless it was done in good faith to save your life.
  • Abortion without your consent – If anyone else forces you to have an abortion or performs one without you agreeing to it, the punishment is jail time of up to 10 years and a fine.
  • Abortion resulting in death ­ – If the patient dies because of a botched abortion or an abortion carried out by an unskilled person, the doctor who conducted the operation can be punished with jail time of up to 10 years and a fine. If the abortion was conducted without the patient’s permission, the punishment is jail for life.
  • Intentionally causing the death of a fetus can also be prosecuted under other provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 under which the punishment can extend up to 10 years.







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