HC moots extending gestation period for terminating pregnancies
Concerned over the increase in cases of unwanted pregnancies due to rapes and forced relationships, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday mooted an extension of the gestation period for termination of pregnancy from 20 weeks to 24 weeks, as per a 2014 proposal. The court ordered notice to both the Centre and the State government, seeking their response.
Alarmed at the rate at which crimes were being committed against women and abortions were being carried out in homes under unsafe conditions, a Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and S.S. Sundar observed that it was a matter of urgency for the Central government to come out with a time frame by which the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 could be amended by extending the permissible termination period from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
The court took suo motu cognisance of a report by WHO-MOD (World Health Organisation and March of Dimes) which pointed out that 2.70 crore children were born in India every year, of which 17 lakh were born with abnormalities found in the foetus itself.