Is there a provision for emergency abortions in India?

Last updated on Apr 19, 2022

If there is a need to conduct an immediate abortion to save a pregnant woman’s life, no matter how far along the pregnancy is, the doctor can conduct the abortion. This emergency abortion should be done by the doctor without any intention to cause harm and in good faith((

Section 5(1), The Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Act, 1971.))

Any registered medical practitioner can conduct the abortion, even if they do not have the required OB-GYN qualifications under the law. This has to be done in good faith to save the life of the woman or the fetus.

A case will not be filed against such doctors who perform emergency abortions in good faith((

Section 8, The Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Act, 1971.))

For example, if a woman 22 weeks pregnant was in a car crash, then a doctor can conduct an immediate abortion to save the woman’s life. The doctor will not be prosecuted for conducting an abortion after 20 weeks since it was done in good faith to save the woman’s life.

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Related Resources

Guide to Accessing Safe Abortions

The Nyaaya Guide to Accessing Safe Abortions aims to highlight the rights available to women accessing abortions and the processes to be followed for a safe and legal abortion. 

Who does this law apply to?

A pregnant woman can seek a legal abortion under two circumstances - to safeguard her health and in case of fetal abnormality.

What are the abortion records to be kept by hospitals and doctors?

By way of records of an abortion, hospitals must maintain the doctor's opinion, the consent form of the patient and admission registers

Can a married woman terminate an unwanted pregnancy?

Within 20 weeks of the pregnancy, the doctor can perform the abortion if the married woman desires and is necessary for her mental health.

Does a woman suffering from mental illness have the right to get an abortion?

Consent of a guardian is necessary to perform abortion on a woman suffering from any mental illness under the MTP Act 1971.

Who can seek Maternity Benefits?

Maternity benefits can be sought by expectant mothers, adoptive mothers as well as those recovering from an abortion or tubectomy.