Abortion Laws in India
Abortion has been legal in India since 1971 according to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.1 Both medical and surgical abortion services are available in India. Abortion services in India can range from INR 1,000 or above INR 10,000.
Is abortion legal in India?
Abortion is legal in India up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. The opinion of one Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) is required for pregnancies up to 12 weeks and of two RMPs for pregnancies exceeding 12 weeks, but less than 20 weeks.
A pregnancy can be terminated by a Registered Medical Practitioner if:
- The continuation of pregnancy involves a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or causes grave injury to her physical or mental health
- The anguish caused by the unwanted pregnancy in the following situations is presumed to cause grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman: rape or incest failure of any device or method used by a married woman or her husband for the purpose of limiting the number of children
- There is a substantial risk that, if the child was born, s/he would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.2
What are the different abortion services available in India?
India provides both medical as well as surgical abortion services. For Medical Abortion (MA), a combination of Mifepristone and Misoprostol is often used; misoprostol only regimens are less common. Surgical procedures that are available include: Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA), electric vacuum aspiration (EVA) and Dilation and Evacuation (D&E).
Who can perform legal abortions in India?
Only obstetrician-gynecologists and other doctors who have undergone a government-approved training and certification can provide legal abortion services. Government approved public health facilities can provide abortions as long as the provider is certified in abortion services. In the private sector, abortion services can only be provided in government approved health facilities if doctor providing this service has been trained at a hospital or approved training centre.
Where can I go for legal abortion services in India?
Safe and legal abortion in India can be performed at:
- Government or public health facilities/hospitals
- Approved Private clinics
What is the cost of a safe abortion in India?
The price of an abortion in India depends on the type of abortion as well as the provider. At government or public health facilities in India, all abortion services are free. In the private sector, services can range from INR 1,000 to above INR 10,000.
Which abortion pills are available in India?
The commonly available abortion pills in India are a combination of Misoprostol and Mifepristone which is sold under different brand names that include, Safe-T kit, MIFEGEST Kit, MTP Kit among others.
Both Mifepristone and Misoprostol are registered under India’s National List of Essential Medicines and governed by the government price control. We have more information on Misoprostol and Mifepristone usage here.
Where can I buy abortion pills in India?
Pharmacists are allowed to dispense abortion pills against a valid prescription by a provider in India.
What do the abortion pills look like in India?
There are various abortion pill brands in India. Widely available ones include Safe-T Kit.
This is what MIFEGEST Kit abortion pills looks like:
This is what Syn-Bort abortion pills looks like
This is what Unwanted Kit abortion pills looks like
This is what Cipla Mifepristone and Misoprostol (Cipla MTP kit) looks like:
Who can I contact for additional abortion information and support in India?
- DKT/Janani India.
Tele-Helpline Centre: 1800 200 3006 (Toll free)
- Hidden pockets provides sexual and reproductive health counseling
Whatsapp Careline number: 8861713567
- Marjee India Hotline: +9075764763 (Monday to Friday | 10 AM to 6 PM)
- IPAS Development Foundation.
- Asia Safe Abortion Partnership
- Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India (formerly Marie Stopes India)
(+91) 11 4984 0000 / (+91) 40 3068 0659
- Centre for Inquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT): CEHAT is running a 24/7 helpline to respond to women and girls facing violence.
- Gynopedia India.
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- 1 Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Government of India. “Medical termination of pregnancy Act, 1971 (Act No. 34 of 1971).” Department of Health and Family welfare, 10th August 1971, https://main.mohfw.gov.in/acts-rules-and-standards-health-sector/acts/mtp-act-1971. Accessed, 10 June 2020.
- 2 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India “Comprehensive abortion care: training and service delivery guidelines.” https://nhm.gov.in/New_Updates_2018/NHM_Components/RMNCHA/MH/Guidelines/CAC_Training_and_Service_Delivery_Guideline.pdf. Accessed, 10 June 2020.