Mother Of 3 Girls Dies During Illegal Abortion After An Alleged Sex Determination Test
28-year-old R. Ramuthai, the mother of three girls and pregnant with a fourth child for seven months, died during a suspected sex-selective abortion performed by a nurse. The woman was from Uthapanaickanoor, near Usilampatti in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu.
The police suspect that the abortion could have been planned after Ramuthai learnt that she was carrying a girl child, after going through a sex determination test. Her husband Ramar, and her father denied knowing anything regarding her plan and attempt to abort the baby, The Hindu reported.
“I am not aware of her attempt to abort the pregnancy. I came to know about the entire episode only when I was told about her death,” 60-year-old S. Vellai, Ramuthai’s father, told The Hindu. Ramuthai, along with her aunt Malarkodi, had previously gone to a private hospital at Usilampatti for the abortion. Due to the advanced stage of pregnancy, the doctor they approached refused to help them. Although the doctor refused, a nurse, Jothilakshmi, agreed. She has been arrested for allegedly conducting the illegal abortion.
What Does Administration Say?
Madasamy, the Usilampatti inspector of police, said that they got the information about the woman’s demise at the nurse’s house. Her body was brought for a post-mortem to the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai.
K.V. Arjunkumar, Deputy Director (Health Services) said that after Ramuthai’s house was visited after her death by a medical team, her mother claimed that Ramuthai had gone to a scan centre on September 17 and then to a private hospital for the abortion. When the private hospital refused to carry out the procedure, a nurse who worked there promised to help. The nurse administered an injection that led to Ramuthai’s death. Following her pregnancy, Ramuthai had not even registered with the Primary Health Centre in her area.
“Even when a village health nurse on Monday asked about her health, the woman had denied that she was pregnant,” Dr Arjunkumar said.
Joint Director (Health Services), V.R. Vijayalakshmi has not seen the scan report yet. The scanning centre Ramuthai visited is, however, yet to be identified, and that should disclose whether she wanted the abortion because she already had three girl children.
If the sex of the foetus had been revealed to Ramuthai in violation of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act, the Joint Director (Health Services) will take strict action, Madurai Collector S.Natarajan told the daily.
According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, An abortion can be legally performed within 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, in 2017, the apex court had also sought more time to allow a woman for aborting the fetus under permissible conditions, in case the fetus is critically weak.
The Logical Indian Take
Female foeticide and infanticide are ugly forms of discrimination against girls in our society. It has been a grave issue in Usilampatti, and it was specifically highlighted nationally in the late 90s. Patriarchy is still a big issue in many parts of our country. Girls are considered a liability until they are married off. Any investment in a girl’s education and marriage is believed to be of minimum importance, and the practice of dowry adds to the distress of the family. All this creates a general preference for boys over girls.However, India does have stringent laws against female foeticide and infanticide. An act against this gory practice as well as prenatal sex determination is the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994.