Women

Minor went for abortion but gives birth

September 10, 2017 06:49 PM
Supreme Court of India

Mumbai: A 13-year-old Mumbai girl, who recently became the first in the country to get the go-ahead from the judiciary to terminate pregnancy at 32 weeks of gestation, delivered a baby boy at JJ Hospital on Friday. Her family, which had moved the Supreme Court for permission to abort the child, has now sprung a surprise by showing its willingness to keep the baby.

The top court gave a verdict in favour of the girl and asked the hospital to carry out the termination, preferably by Friday.The department has been getting adoption requests. “We have got around five requests so far,“ said Dr Anand. The JJ medical board had suggested the baby would have lesser morbidity if it could stay in the womb for another two weeks.

The newborn, weighing 1.8kg, was delivered through a cesarean section and whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unit soon after the delivery. JJ's head of gynaecology, Dr Ashok Anand, said though the baby was healthy, most of his organs would be underdeveloped at 32 weeks. The baby was put on oxygen support as he had difficulty breathing.

The department has been getting adoption requests. “We have got around five requests so far,“ said Dr Anand. The JJ medical board had suggested the baby would have lesser morbidity if it could stay in the womb for another two weeks.

The top court gave a verdict in favour of the girl and asked the hospital to carry out the termination, preferably by Friday.

Now it turns out that both the girl and her family were not staunchly against the idea of continuing the pregnancy for another few weeks. The girl's cousin told TOI that a lot of things transpired between the 27th week, when the pregnancy was detected, and the 32nd week, when the Supreme Court gave a verdict in favour of termination. “We have had discussions within the family in the last one month. She wanted to keep the baby. Moreover, we knew that terminating the pregnancy at such an advanced stage could pose a danger to both mother and child. But after the Supreme Court verdict, we thought there was no turning back,“ she said. The girl's mother spoke only briefly. “She is doing all right after the surgery. I am happy about that,“ she said.

The family at no point had conveyed their desire to keep the baby to their lawyers or the doctor who suggested they go to court.Gynaecologist Nikhil Datar said the father was the petitioner in the case.“There are lots of myths about safety of late termination, which can create confusion in decision-making. The family didn't communicate anything about wanting to keep the child,“ he said.

Shreya Mukherjee, the lawyer who fought the case in the Supreme Court, said, “If that was the case, we won't have taken the hassle of going to court. It was difficult to get a termination order at the 31st week, given that such an order was never given before. Once the matter went to court, things moved swiftly. The family could have expressed the same in front of the JJ medical board.“

Legally, the mother is the custodian of the child and will have first right over him. “Only if the family is unwilling to take the child will he be given up for adoption,“ said Dr Anand.

 

 

 

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