Modi government planning a major overhaul of abortion law for single women

Pranshu Rathi
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A recommendation by Union Health Ministry, once approved by the Cabinet and Parliament, will allow abortions due to failure of contraceptives, regardless of whether the woman is married or not.

The recommendation will amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and give women the choice of abortion irrespective of their marital status.

"We are very keen to push these amendments. We have done all due consultations with various stakeholders. We have said any woman who wants an abortion, whether she is single or married, can opt for it," a senior Health Ministry official told PTI.

The law presently is discriminative as it only recognises the rights of a married woman, who is allowed abortion if a failure of contraceptive is found. Health Ministry officials said that many maternal deaths occur due to abortions that are done improperly by untrained people.

"We have also recommended that we will expand the base and include Auxiliary Nursing Midwife (ANM) as well as doctors practising AYUSH like homeopathy and other traditional medicines," another official said as it is suggested that the ministry also recommended allowing homeopaths, nurses and midwives to conduct non-invasive abortions with training.

Sources said the ministry is keen to push for the amendments as it will also bring a lot of relief to single women who want to terminate pregnancy in a legal manner.

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