Indian government approved moves to ease abortion laws, enabling rape survivors and other vulnerable women to terminate pregnancies up to 24 weeks after inception.
Current Indian law does not allow abortion after 20 weeks unless the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.
But, these restrictions often forced women to seek help from back street operators or resort to dangerous self-medication.
In recent years a number of young rape survivors and trafficking victims have gone to court to seek the right to end pregnancies only discovered after 20 weeks.
In 2017, a 10-year-old rape victim gave birth to a baby girl after her plea for a late abortion rejected by the Indian Supreme Court.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet on Wednesday approved what it called a “progressive reform” of abortion laws.
“This is important because there are cases where the girl concerned doesn’t realize she is pregnant in the first five months and has to go to court,” Union Minister Prakash Javadekar told.
“This will reduce maternal mortality,” he added.
“If the termination required in 20 weeks, the opinion of one doctor will needed.
Beyond that, opinion of two doctors would require and one has to be a government physician”, Prakash Javadekar said.
However, an estimated 6.4 million abortions carried out every year in India.
Over half estimates to be unsafe, a 2017 study said by the Ipas Development Foundation.
The bill will be tabled in the ensuing Parliament session.