Who can perform abortions?

Last updated on Jun 16, 2022

Under the law, only a ‘Registered Medical Practitioner’ can perform the abortion procedure. For a doctor to be recognised as a registered medical practitioner, the following conditions must be fulfilled:

  • They must possess recognised medical qualifications such as MBBS, MD, MS, etc. (A list of these qualifications can be found in the Schedule of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956).
  • They must be enrolled in the State Medical Register.
  • They must have training in gynaecology and obstetrics (OB-GYN)1.

Only in case of emergency abortions, any registered medical practioner, regardless of whether they are an OB-GYN, can conduct the abortion in good faith.

If the abortion is carried out by a person who is not a registered medical practitioner, then such a person can be punished with rigorous jail time between 2 and 7 years2.

It is important to note that ayurvedic, unani or homeopathic doctors, or nurses, cannot legally perform abortions.

  1. Section 2(d), The Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Act, 1971[]
  2. Section 5(2), The Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Act, 1971[]

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Related Resources

Guide to Accessing Safe Abortions

The Nyaaya Guide to Accessing Safe Abortions aims to highlight the rights available to women accessing abortions and the processes to be followed for a safe and legal abortion. 

Who does this law apply to?

A pregnant woman can seek a legal abortion under two circumstances - to safeguard her health and in case of fetal abnormality.

What are the abortion records to be kept by hospitals and doctors?

By way of records of an abortion, hospitals must maintain the doctor's opinion, the consent form of the patient and admission registers

Can a married woman terminate an unwanted pregnancy?

Within 20 weeks of the pregnancy, the doctor can perform the abortion if the married woman desires and is necessary for her mental health.

Does a woman suffering from mental illness have the right to get an abortion?

Consent of a guardian is necessary to perform abortion on a woman suffering from any mental illness under the MTP Act 1971.

Who can seek Maternity Benefits?

Maternity benefits can be sought by expectant mothers, adoptive mothers as well as those recovering from an abortion or tubectomy.