NCW advises government to extend time limit for abortion

New Delhi, Feb 3: The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Sunday advised the Union Health Ministry to push the time limit for abortions from 20 weeks to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The ministry had asked them to review the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, and send their recommendation if any, after which the proposal was sent last month.

Pregnancy of 20-22 weeks is the appropriate period during which the foetal anomalies test can give detailed information through sonography, particularly about heart-related problems.

“We had called doctors, gynaecologists and some social activists for consultation to extend the abortion limit and we had proposed an amendment in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971. The Commission has asked to push the time limit for abortions from 20 weeks to 24 weeks of pregnancy,” said Mamta Sharma, Chairperson of the NCW.

“Consultation is still going on, and a concrete decision is yet to be taken. We will send our recommendations to the health ministry and WCD (Department of Women and Child Development),” said Mamta Sharma.

In August 2008, a couple, Nikita and Haresh Mehta, had approached the Delhi High Court with a request for aborting Nikita’s foetus, which had a congenital heart defect.

When they approached the court, Nikita was in her 24th week of pregnancy. Due to the act she was not allowed from getting an abortion. But after three weeks, she suffered a miscarriage.

While some experts believe the extension will lead to an increase in female foeticide, the NCW differs. (ANI)