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Indian doctors are divided over plan to allow traditional medicine practitioners to perform abortions

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6822 (Published 13 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6822
  1. Ganapati Mudur
  1. 1New Delhi

India’s medical community has sharply divided over a proposal by the health ministry and representatives of gynaecologists and obstetricians to allow practitioners of traditional medicine and nurses to perform abortions after regulated training programmes and certification.

The health ministry has proposed amendments to India’s 43 year old Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act to extend the time limit for abortions from the current 20 weeks to 24 weeks of gestation and to expand the list of healthcare providers permitted to perform abortions.

Doctors have said that there is consensus in medical circles over the need to extend the permissible period for termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks to facilitate the abortion of foetuses with congenital disorders that are detected late. But the plan to allow practitioners with government recognised degrees in ayurveda, unani, siddha, and homeopathy, as well as …

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