The Catholic Church and pro-life committee of the Council of Catholic Bishops of Kerala are strongly opposing the federal government after it approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that extends abortion period from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
The Church considers human life as a gift from God and sees the law as an infringement upon the right to life of a baby in the womb.
On February 1, the synod of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church submitted an official statement urging the government to drop the amendment as it is against life.
According to Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, the bill will guarantee "safe termination of pregnancy and will also give women of reproductive age the right over their bodies." For him, the extension of the termination period by four weeks "will help rape victims, girls with disabilities and minors who may not realize they are pregnant until the last minute."
An official statement said that the amendment "is a step towards the safety and well-being of the women and many women will benefit from this."
The bishops question the government asking "What welfare is there in killing hapless children in the womb of their mothers?"
Meanwhile, the Kerala pro-life committee is also asking the federal government to withdraw the abortion law.
The committee said in a statement that "the government order prepares a conducive atmosphere for unbridled abortion" and it also stated that "there is no difference between a child in pregnancy and a newborn."
The 1971 law allowed abortion only up to 12 weeks under strict restrictions. "Later it was extended to 20 weeks and now to 24 weeks, which will lead to female feticide and manslaughter," the pro-life group warned.
To oppose the extension, the group is planning to organize state-wide protest programs in Kerala.