Safe and Legal Medical Termination of Pregnancy
A woman experiences tremendous worry and fear when she thinks about abortion. Termination of pregnancy has always been a frightening thought, and despite advances in medical technology, the underlying fear hasn’t reduced proportionately. However, ensuring that a qualified doctor does abortion is the first and most crucial step toward a safe termination of pregnancy.
In India, abortion is legal, and a woman can freely say, "My life, my choice". Therefore, she has every right to opt for an abortion. Let’s see what makes medical abortion safe and effective.
What is MTP?
Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP), also called Induced Abortion, is a procedure to end a pregnancy. In India, the MTP Act (2021) legalises safe abortion methods for up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion depends on how many weeks a woman is pregnant, and the pregnancy can be terminated in two ways, either through a medical method using medicines or surgically.
Is MTP safe and effective?
Medical science has come a long way; today, MTP is a very safe and effective procedure. Medical abortions are considered safer during pregnancy's first trimester (till 12 weeks). 95-97% of women respond successfully to the medicines for medically aborting the baby, and 98% of women successfully react to the surgical method. However, there are some chances of complications, just like other surgeries, but they are rare.
Is MTP legal?
Yes, MTP is legal in India. In India, the MTP Act passed in 1971 legalised abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. According to the new MTP Act of 2021, a pregnancy can be terminated up to 24 weeks. Section 4 of the MTP Act states that a mentally stable adult woman does not need anyone's consent to end an unwanted pregnancy. However, mentally ill and minor (less than 18) women/girls need consent from a guardian to undergo an abortion.
Why is an MTP performed?
Abortion is a very personal decision. A woman or couple may opt for MTP because they:
- To end an unwanted pregnancy
- End an early miscarriage
- Have risk of inherited or congenital disease
- Health complications
When can someone have MTP?
A woman may have MTP as soon as she learns about the pregnancy. Medical abortion can be done up to nine weeks of pregnancy. After nine weeks, a woman can have other methods of abortion, such as surgical abortion. The doctor may recommend her the best option.
Who cannot opt for MTP?
A woman must discuss all her medical history with the doctor. For some women, MTP is not a safe option, such as women who have the following issues:
- Too far along in the pregnancy
- Have a blood clotting condition (haemophilia, etc.)
- Have an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb)
- Have an intrauterine device (IUD)
- Use of long-term corticosteroids
- Have a chronic adrenal failure
- Do not have access to emergency care
- Have an allergy to the medicines used
What are the different methods of MTP?
There are two methods of abortion based on gestational age. The types are:
- Medical abortion: The doctor will give the pregnant woman two medicines (mifepristone and misoprostol) that are either taken in the doctor's office or at home.
- Surgical abortion: The doctor will surgically remove the foetus from the uterus. Some reasons a woman may prefer a surgical abortion are:
- Personal choice
- Failed medical abortion
- Being too far along in the pregnancy.
- Based on your discussion with the doctor, they will suggest the most suitable option for you.
What are the benefits of an MTP?
There are various benefits of an MTP when it is done safely under a registered medical practitioner. It is safest when it is done during the first trimester. The benefits of an MTP are as follows:
- No need for surgery and anaesthesia
- It feels like a more natural way for abortion
- Some women think it gives them greater control over their bodies
- It gives them greater privacy
- It can be done in fewer appointments
- Women do not have heavy bleeding
- More effective than a medical abortion
- It takes lesser time
What are the disadvantages of MTP?
There are several benefits of an MTP, but like any medical procedure, there are a few rare complications involved in this process:
- Incomplete abortion
- Heavy bleeding
- Allergic reaction to the medicines
- Instruments may cause uterine perforation or cervical injury
- Need for abdominal surgery (in case of any damage)
- Excessive bleeding and cramping
A woman has all the right to opt for abortion and does not need anyone's approval or consent to proceed with the procedure. If you know someone considering an abortion, you can also share this knowledge with them. Awareness is vital to get rid of any fear.
Lastly, you must consult your doctor about abortion and the suitable method. Do not self-medicate or meet an unqualified person for an abortion; we are a phone call away if you have any queries. You can also visit Hexahealth to know more.