The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved extending the upper limit for permitting abortions from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
The Cabinet approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
The Bill will be introduced in the ensuing session of Parliament.
While addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the upper limit for permitting abortions has been extended from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
He also said that this will ensure safe termination of pregnancies and also give women reproductive rights over their bodies.
The extension to 24 weeks will also help victims of rape, girls with disabilities as well as minors, who may not realise they are pregnant until later, he said.
"In a progressive reform and giving reproductive rights to women the limit of 20 weeks of medical termination of pregnancy has been increased to 24 weeks. This is important because in first 5 months there are cases where the girl concerned doesn't realise and has to go to court. This was discussed with various stakeholders.
"This will reduce maternal mortality," he said.