Indian Health Ministry proposes several amendments to the abortion law

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At present, the law on abortion in India recognises failure of contraceptive as a legal reason for abortion only if the woman is married. The national Health Ministry has proposed to allow single women to opt for abortion in cases of unplanned pregnancies, a move aimed to increase access to safe abortion and allow single women to exercise their reproductive rights. It is hoped this will broaden access to legal abortion.

The proposed amendments also include allowing homeopaths, nurses and midwives to manage medical abortions with training. Lastly they also include extending the upper time limit from 20 weeks to 24 weeks for special categories of women, which are also likely to include single, disabled and other vulnerable women. At present, abortions after 20 weeks are allowed only with the approval of a court as has been shown in a number of recent cases this year.

At present, over 7 million abortions take place a year in the country. The proposals are likely to be taken up by the Union Cabinet after the current Parliamentary session ends.

SOURCE: Indian Express, 12 December 2016 ; The Pioneer, 14 December 2016 ; VISUAL