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Yes, abortion is legal in India, but only on certain grounds. See below for further details.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
Abortion is permitted in India only on certain grounds, i.e. only if a particular reason exists. If you fall within any of these grounds, you can seek an abortion.
For married women (Section 3, MTP Act):
For unmarried women (Section 3, MTP Act):
Remember- Since all the above grounds (except for married women) are related to health, your right to seek abortion mainly depends on whether or not your doctor thinks such grounds exist. Only if the doctor thinks your case falls under any of the above grounds your doctor will agree for carrying out the abortion.
An abortion can be done in India only if a registered medical practitioner is satisfied that any of the permitted grounds for the abortion (as explained above) exist. How many registered medical practitioners need to be satisfied depends on the number of weeks of your pregnancy:
Beyond 20 weeks, abortion is not allowed by law.
You can get an abortion until up to a maximum of 20 weeks into your pregnancy. Beyond 20 weeks, abortion is not allowed by law. The only case it is permitted is when (on the spot) the doctors have to carry out an emergency abortion to save the mother’s life.
Only a registered medical practitioner can carry out an abortion. A registered medical practitioner is a doctor who is legally permitted to carry out abortions. Basically, a qualified doctor, who is an expert in gynaecology or obstetrics, and whose name is listed in the State Medical Register.
Abortion can only be done in:
Whose consent is needed:
Whose consent is not needed:
Anyone else, including husband, parents, in-laws, any other family members, etc.
Yes, a married woman can get an abortion in India. The easiest grounds on which a married woman to get an abortion is the failure of contraceptive.
Yes, an unmarried woman can get an abortion in India, however, only on certain grounds. For the details, see above.
Yes, a minor girl can get an abortion in India. However, the written consent of her legal guardian is compulsory. She can get an abortion if her case falls under any of the situations in which abortion is permitted.
Practical tip: Since the girl is a minor, her case will automatically fall under the ground of ‘likely to cause injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman,’ as it is difficult for a minor to raise a child, especially if she is unmarried.
No, you do not need your husband’s or any other person’s consent to get an abortion. You only need to consent of the doctor.
Yes, a legal abortion can only be carried out on the consent of one/two registered medical practitioners. For more details, see above.
No, you do not need your in-laws’ or any other person’s consent to get an abortion, except for a registered medical practitioner.
No. No abortion can be carried out without the pregnant woman’s consent.
If an unwanted pregnancy is caused as by rape, the pregnant woman can seek an abortion, just like in any other situation. For pregnancy caused by rape, the law presumes that it causes grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman, and permits abortion on this ground.
Yes, there is. The following acts are punishable, with imprisonment of 2-7 years:
Please note: This information has been made available to you for your benefit on an ‘as is’ basis, and is only for your information. It does not constitute legal advice and cannot substitute professional legal advice. Our disclaimer policy can be viewed here ( disclaimer policy)