Prior to this study, the latest available estimate of abortion incidence at 6.4 million abortions per year in India came from the Abortion Evaluation Project – India.  This was a multicenter study of 380 abortion centers (285 private) conducted in six states. The study found that there were “an average of four formal abortion facilities (medically qualified, but not necessarily certified to perform abortions) per 100,000 residents in India and an average of 1.2 providers per facility.” Of all formal abortion providers, 55% were gynaecologists and 64% of facilities had at least one woman. The study further found that only 31% of the reasons for female abortion were within the grounds allowed by the MTP law, with the other reasons being unwanted pregnancy, economic reasons and unwanted sexual intercourse of the fetus. Many countries allow abortion up to a certain period of time, as well as certain other factors. For example, in the United Kingdom, a pregnancy can be terminated at any time: (i) to protect the woman`s life, (ii) to prevent serious and permanent harm to the woman`s physical or mental health, or (iii) if the child is at risk of becoming severely disabled. In addition, in determining whether the woman`s physical or mental health has to be affected, account may be taken of her actual or reasonably foreseeable environment.  In South Africa, a pregnancy may be terminated at the woman`s request for up to 12 weeks and between 12 and 20 weeks if: (i) it poses a risk to the woman`s mental or physical health, (ii) there is a risk of foetal abnormalities, (iii) it was caused by rape, or (iv) the continuation of the pregnancy would have a negative effect on the woman`s socio-economic status. It is also allowed beyond 20 weeks if there is a danger to the life of the woman or fetus or if there is a risk of fetal abnormalities.  Legal abortions are allowed in cases of rape and when there is no other way to save the lives of pregnant women. Women and girls who terminate a pregnancy in other circumstances face up to three years in prison. According to media reports, more than 300 abortion cases against women were recorded by the courts in 2017, many of which were reported by medical professionals from whom women sought TPMs outside the system. Abortion is allowed by law to save a woman`s life.
The penalty for causing a miscarriage is a fine, which can be up to three years in prison. Despite these laws, the number of abortions in the island nation remains high, with the Ministry of Health reporting 658 abortions per day in 2016. In Sri Lanka, 12.5% of all maternal deaths are due to illegal abortions, making it the third leading cause of maternal mortality. Abortion is permitted upon request and pregnancy restrictions vary according to strict regulatory mechanisms. The Supreme Court`s decision is just the latest step in the gradual liberalization of India`s abortion law. Prior to the passage of the MTP Act in 1971, abortion was criminalized in India. This has forced women to resort to unsafe and unregulated abortions. To remedy this situation, the MTP law was adopted. The law allowed abortions for up to 12 weeks (on the advice of one doctor) and up to 20 weeks (on the advice of two doctors).
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 provides the legal framework for the provision of CAC services in India. Abortion is permitted for a wide range of conditions up to the 20th week of pregnancy, as described below: Originally, the MTP law stipulated that abortion could be allowed up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. It has also been established that the procedure can only be performed by a licensed medical practitioner. The abortion must take place in a fully equipped hospital or clinic. “Since 2017, the abortion period has been extended to 24 weeks, as detection of certain conditions, such as congenital heart defects and Down syndrome, is often not discovered until a later date,” says Dr. Sunitha. All public hospitals are licensed to offer CAC services as standard. However, private sector entities must obtain government approval. Approval is obtained from a district-level committee called the District Level Committee (DLC), which has three to five members. According to the MTP Rules 2003, the following forms are required for the approval of a private place to provide MTP services: According to the Indian Penal Code of 1860, voluntary abortion is a criminal offence.  The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 allows doctors (with certain specializations) to terminate their pregnancies for certain reasons.