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Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP)

Medical method of abortion is a voluntary or intentional termination of pregnancy in a non-surgical or non-invasive way. Early medical termination is extremely safe upto 12 weeks (the first trimester) of pregnancy and generally has no impact on a women’s fertility. Abortion during the second trimester is more risky as the foetus becomes intimately associated with the maternal tissue.

Government of India legalized MTP in 1971 for medical necessity and social consequences with certain restrictions like sex discrimination and illegal female foeticides to avoid its misuse. MTP performed illegally by unqualified quacks is unsafe and could be fatal. MTP of the first conception may have serious psychological consequences.

The medical termination of pregnancy can only be done (by law) if there is: A possible health risk to the physical/mental condition of the mother. A potential risk to the health of the growing foetus. If a woman gets pregnant as a result of rape.

Termination of pregnancy through medicine is an effective and safe method for very early pregnancies. It avoids the usage of anaesthesia, surgeries or vacuum aspiration unless it fails. It is done in more secrecy and has privacy. The procedure is non-invasive.

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), the termination of pregnancy by a person who is not a registered medical practitioner shall be an offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to seven years under that give us medicine.


Medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol is a very safe option for termination of pregnancy when consumed under medical supervision with a success rate of 92-97%. Clear guidelines have been formulated by organizations like WHO and in India by FOGSI regarding the use of abortion pills.

Some women describe the experience as being similar to having a heavy period and cramps. Others may experience more intense cramping. When someone has a medical abortion, they usually pass out the pregnancy tissue within 4-5 hours.

The Bill allows abortion to be done on the advice of one doctor up to 20 weeks, and two doctors in the case of certain categories of women between 20 and 24 weeks. The Bill sets up state level Medical Boards to decide if a pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities.

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, a pregnancy can be terminated until 20 weeks after conception if it will harm the mother, if the pregnancy was the result of rape, if the child will be born with serious physical or mental defects, or in case of contraceptive failure.