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Friday, Dec 06, 2019

Key bills on surrogacy, abortion, assisted reproduction this winter session

The heath ministry is planning to bring five bills in the Lok Sabha this winter session

india Updated: Nov 19, 2019 10:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Health Ministry is planning to bring five Bills in the ongoing winter session of Parliament, main among them being one on surrogacy and on medical termination of  pregnancy.
The Health Ministry is planning to bring five Bills in the ongoing winter session of Parliament, main among them being one on surrogacy and on medical termination of pregnancy.(Getty Images/file photo)
         

The Bills on surrogacy, assisted reproduction and medical termination of pregnancy are among the five legislations that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare plans to introduce in the two houses of Parliament in the ongoing winter session.

These include the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019; the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2019; the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and to replace government’s e-cigarettes ordinance, the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019.

Prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and scheduled to be introduced in the Lok Sabha, the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2019, aims to regulate assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinics and banks in the country.

The Bill proposes to establish the National Advisory Board, the State Advisory Boards and the National Registry for the accreditation, regulation and supervision for prevention of misuse.

Since ICMR has prepared the Bill, the apex research body will also make a presentation on the Bill before the Prime minister’s office (PMO) on Tuesday, according to sources. “The ART Bill is scheduled for the winter session,” confirmed Dr Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR.

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, was passed in the Lok Sabha in August this year, and is expected to be introduced in Rajya Sabha in this session. The Bill bans commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy wherein only a close relative can act as a surrogate. It also proposes the National Surrogacy Board and respective State Surrogacy Boards to be constituted to regulate the practice of surrogacy.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2019, will be introduced in the Lok Sabha that will amend country’s abortion law. The significant change proposed in the Bill is increase the legal upper limit for medically aborting a pregnancy from the current 20 weeks to 24 weeks that will increase the base of beneficiaries significantly.

“The increase will help in dealing with cases where the foetus is malformed, as malformations usually get diagnosed later in pregnancy,” said Dr Alka Kriplani, former head of gaynaecology department, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi.

The government had brought in an ordinance in September that banned production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, storage, distribution and even advertising of e-cigarettes in the country, including online sale and advertising.

To replace the ordnance, the government is introducing The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019, in Lok Sabha.

E-cigarettes that are technically called the Electronic Nicotine Delivery Devices (ENDS) also include heat-not-burn devices, vape, e-sheesha and e-nicotine flavoured hookah.

“The Bill will be brought in the winter session of the parliament,” said finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who chaired the group of ministers that discussed adverse health impact of use of e-cigarettes or vaping, while announcing the ban.

The other Bills that are in Parliament for consideration but with pending standing committee report include the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 that is meant to repeal the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, and sets up a National Commission to regulate the education and practice of Indian systems of Medicine; and the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019, which will repeal the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973, and sets up the National Commission for Homoeopathy to regulate homoeopathic education and practice.