Medical Termination of Pregnancy (often called as MTP) is the induced termination of pregnancy (abortion) by a medical professional. MTP is performed by a qualified gynecologist (preferably with an MD degree) at a government approved medical facility. An MBBS doctor with appropriate training in MTP is also be allowed to perform the procedure.
Induced termination of pregnancy or abortion is legally allowed only in the following cases:
- Mother is a rape survivor
- There is potential physical/mental danger to mother due to continuation of pregnancy
- Possible danger to the fetus
- Accidental pregnancy i.e. failure of contraceptive measures used by a married woman and/or her husband
In these cases, MTP is done when mother is willing to get rid of the fetus. In India, pregnancy of only up to 20 weeks can be legally terminated. If the fetus has grown more than 20 weeks, the mother will have to present her case in the court of law and seek special permission to get the abortion done. Also, MTP is not allowed if the sex of fetus has already been determined. This rule has been implemented to keep people from aborting a girl child after sex determination.
Definitions in MTP Act 1971
The MTP Act 1971 does not provide a proper definition of termination of pregnancy. In 2014, some amendments in MTP Act were proposed. These proposed amendments include a recommendation that a clear definition of termination of pregnancy should be provided in the Act.
Other Definitions in the MTP Act (unless the context otherwise requires)
- Guardian means a person having the care of the person of a minor or a lunatic;
- Lunatic has the meaning assigned to it in section 3 of the Indian Lunatic Act, 1912 ( 4 of 1912);
- Minor means a person who, under the provisions of the Indian Majority Act, 1875 ( 9 of 1875), is to be deemed not to have attained his majority;
- Registered medical practitioner means a medical practitioner who possesses any recognized medical qualification as defined in clause (h) of section 2 of the Indian
Which Doctor can Carry Out Abortion?
According to the MTP Act 1971, a medical professional with the following qualifications is allowed to conduct MTP procedure:
- Doctor is recognized medical qualification under the Indian Medical Council Act
- Doctor’s name is entered in the State Medical Register
- Doctor has such experience or training in gynecology and obstetrics as per the MTP Rules
MTP Act 1971
Abortion is legal in India. The cases of MTP are governed by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971. This law provides the legal framework for the Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) services in India.
The MTP Act 1971 specifies the following:
- Who can terminate a pregnancy;
- Till when a pregnancy can be terminated; and
- Where can a pregnancy be terminated
In addition, the MTP Rules, 2003 detail the training and certification requirements for a provider and facility of MTP.
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