Abortion in India is illegal. However it is permitted under law only in special circumstances. These include when the woman was raped, when the child would suffer from severe disability, failure of contraceptive devices etc.


Majority of the people believe that abortion is illegal in India, but in special circumstances when the woman doesn�t really have a choice abortion is allowed.

The rules with regard to when abortion is legal or not are under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and it also provides for special situations in which a woman has the right to have an abortion for her own peace of mind, like when she was raped.

The decision to have an abortion is under law is in the hands of the woman and her doctor. The opinion of the father of the child as to whether the woman can have an abortion or not is immaterial to determine whether it�s legal or not.

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Special Circumstances like when raped, or failure of contraceptive devices

There are special circumstances provided under law when regardless of whether it is the opinion of a doctor that having a child would involve a risk to the life of the woman, cause her grave mental or physical injury or that the child may be born with severe disabilities, a woman can have an abortion.

Tip: When the woman was raped, or was using contraceptive devices and they failed it is assumed that having a child would cause grave injury to the mental health of the woman and so she is allowed to have an abortion.

For the Unmarried Women

Abortions for unmarried women are done on the basis of the assumption that having a child would constitute grave injury to their mental health.
But they need the opinion of doctor(s) to state that it would cause such grave injury. Also the doctor has to take into consideration the current financial and other conditions (like age) of the woman and what would be the likely situation in the future for the mother and the child, when deciding whether doing the abortion would be legal or not.

Sex Determination Tests

In India, some families would rather have a son than a daughter. So when it is possible to determine the sex of the child, many women do the test, or are forced to do the test, and then made to kill the child if it is a girl. This is known as female foeticide, and to prevent this from happening (as abortion is legal so foeticide is not a crime necessarily) a law was passed which made having an abortion after being aware of the sex of the child, a crime. It is also a crime to do a particular test called the amniocentesis test, which is a test largely to determine the sex of the child.

There are 927 females to 1000 males in India right now, which indicates that in spite of preventive measures abortion of the female foetus, and female infanticide is still taking place.

When Something Goes Wrong During the Abortion

When something goes wrong during an abortion, you have the same rights against the doctor doing the abortion that you would have against any other doctor who is treating you, or doing a procedure on you. Your rights are as a consumer of services that he is delivering as a medical professional.

Remember that abortion in the first twelve weeks at least, cannot be called surgery or something that requires specialized skill. So your rights are on the basis of the reasonable care that the doctor should exercise when delivering his professional services.

Causing Miscarriage

In some circumstances, causing a miscarriage or aborting the child is an offence under criminal law. If a registered medical practitioner does an abortion according to all the conditions given under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act then the abortion is legal. However if a person has caused a miscarriage or abortion, but it was not done in good faith to save the life of the woman, then this act is punishable under law. This act is an offence…

* with or without the consent of the woman

* when the woman does it herself

* when the accused does it voluntarily

There are also provisions to prevent the killing of the unborn child, or preventing the birth of a child when it is not a legal abortion as per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, or if it was not done in good faith to save the life of the woman under Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code.

This was done by the government to put an end to the practice of female foeticide


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