Abortion up to 24 weeks irrespective of the marital status of the woman is legal in India, but the same is governed by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of 1971. The Act allows for termination of pregnancy under certain conditions and by registered medical practitioners.
The September 2022, Hon’be Apex Court Judgement includes women—irrespective of their marital status—under the MTP Act, which allows them to terminate pregnancies up to 24 weeks thus reaffirming India’s commitment to treat safe and legal abortion as every woman’s Constitutional Right.
Under the MTP Act, a pregnancy can be terminated up to 24 weeks if the continuation of the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or if there is a substantial risk of grave physical or mental injury to the woman, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or contraceptive failure. After 24 weeks, termination of pregnancy is allowed only if the continuation of the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the woman or would cause grave injury to her physical or mental health.
The Act also lays out specific requirements for the medical facilities where abortions can be performed, and for the qualifications of the doctors performing the procedure. It also requires that the woman seeking an abortion provide her informed consent.