SC allows two rape victims to abort, orders preservation of fetus for DNA test to help nail accused


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HIGHLIGHTS

  • The bench directed preservation of the terminated fetus for DNA sampling during the investigation
  • SC medical expense of process of termination of pregnancy would be borne by the respective states

Representative photoRepresentative photo

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday permitted two minor girls to terminate their pregnancies caused by rapes and added a new dimension by ordering preservation of the foetuses to help nail the accused during the sexual assault case trial.

One is a 13-year-old from Delhi and another a 17-year-old from Bengaluru and both are rape survivors. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar ordered termination of their pregnancies, which were beyond the permissible period of 20 weeks under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

The Delhi girl will undergo the MTP in AIIMS on Friday and the Bengaluru girl will terminate her pregnancy in Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI). The court directed AIIMS and the Karnataka government to bear the expense of the medical procedures required for termination of the pregnancies and food and medicines required by the girls.

Counsel in the two cases — Nikhil Nayyar and Divyesh Pratap Singh — requested the court that since both the pregnancies were caused by sexual assault, it would be helpful if the aborted foetuses were preserved for DNA test to assist the prosecution in nailing the guilt of the accused.

SC passed the orders after medical boards in AIIMS and BMCRI recommendation.

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SC allows 13-year-old rape survivor to abort her 32-week-old foetus


 
The minor girl’s mother had moved the apex court seeking its permission to terminate the pregnancy of her daughter.
 (Photo: PTI/File)

  (Photo: PTI/File)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a 13-year-old rape victim to terminate her 32-week-old pregnancy.

In the last hearing, a bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao directed that a medical board would be constituted at Mumbai-based Sir JJ Group of Hospitals to examine the minor girl and ascertain the condition and advisability of permitting abortion.

Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The minor girl’s mother, through advocate Sneha Mukharjee, had moved the apex court seeking its permission to terminate the pregnancy of her daughter.

Earlier, on July 28, the top court had rejected a petition, on medical grounds, filed by another 10-year-old rape victim, who sought permission to terminate her 32-week-old pregnancy. The minor girl had recently delivered a child in Chandigarh.

 

The court’s order had come after taking note of a medical report that abortion would neither be good for the girl, nor for the foetus. The minor girl had recently delivered a child in Chandigarh.http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/060917/sc-allows-13-year-old-rape-survivor-to-abort-her-31-week-old-foetus.html

SC allows Pune woman to abort 25-week foetus


 
 

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed a Pune based pregnant woman, who is in her 25th week of pregnancy, to abort her foetus with abnormalities.

 
Supreme Court of India

“Keeping in view, the report of the medical board, we are inclined to allow the prayer and direct medical termination of pregnancy of petitioner ,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed a Pune-based woman to terminate her pregnancy on a medical report that the 26-week-old foetus was without a skull and would not be able to survive.

The apex court noted that the report submitted by a medical board clearly suggested that there was no point in allowing the pregnancy to run its full course and it could pose severe mental injury to the 26-year-old woman.

The medical board of Mumbai-based Sir JJ Hospital, where the woman was examined in pursuance to the court’s order, said she wanted to terminate the pregnancy as the foetus was not likely to survive and it was causing immense mental agony to her.

“We consider it appropriate in the interest of justice and particularly, to permit the petitioner (woman) to undergo medical termination of her pregnancy under the provisions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971,” a bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said.

“The condition of the foetus is not compatible with life. The medical evidence clearly suggests that there is no point in allowing the pregnancy to run its full course since the foetus would not be able to survive outside the uterus without a skull,” the bench noted in its order.

The court was also informed that the woman understands that her foetus was abnormal and the risk of foetal mortality was high.

It directed that the termination of pregnancy would be performed by the doctors of the hospital where she underwent a medical check-up.

The woman had moved the court for permission to terminate her pregnancy. Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Earlier, a bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao had directed setting up of medical boards to examine their health condition and that of the foetus. The court directed the boards to file their reports by August 9 with their opinion on whether the petitioners could be allowed to terminate their 25-week-old pregnancies.

The woman and her husband had approached the apex court seeking permission to abort the foetus.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, permits abortion till the fetus is 20 weeks’ old. Although the Centre had initiated the process to amend the Act in 2014, it is still awaiting cabinet nod. The proposed bill intends to extend the permissible period for abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks if the pregnancy involves a substantial risk to the mother or child. The amendment also allows to do away with the time limit for abortion in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities.

On 3 July, the SC allowed a woman from Kolkata to abort her 26-weeks pregnancy. The bench of Justice Dipak Misra and M Khanwilkar ruled in favour of the woman and said that the abortion should be carried out ‘forthwith’.

There has been an increase in abortion pleas filed in the apex court since April last year when it had allowed a 14-year-old rape survivor from Ahmedabad to abort her 24-week-old foetus. Most of the cases related to abnormalities in foetuses which were detected after 20 weeks. So far the court has adjudicated on six such cases, allowing abortion in three of them.

OneIndia News

Malformed baby born to Mumbai woman denied abortion by SC dies


Representative image Representative image
MUMBAI: A 28-year-old Diva resident who was denied permission by the Supreme Court in March to abort her severely malformed foetus, watched her baby die, said family friends. The news of the child’s death comes just as a 13-year-old rape survivor’s plea for abortion beyond the permissible 20-week time limit was filed in the SC on Wednesday. Last month, the Supreme Court had turned down a plea for a 10-year-old rape survivor to terminate her 32-week pregnancy.

“The child passed away around a fortnight back,” they said. The child was born on July 1 at civic-run KEM Hospital, Parel, which gave a medical report that formed the basis of the court’s refusal. The woman is said to be in anguish and away in her native village at the moment. Her distraught father said he no longer wanted to speak on the issue.

The Diva woman’s plea was turned down on a technicality that the child would be born alive. In her petition, she mentioned the plight of her severely handicapped and bed-ridden brother as one of the reasons for seeking abortion. She told TOI in March she had helped her parents, who live in Dahisar, take care of her brother. She used to carry her brother to and from the bathroom. He was so sensitive to sounds that Diwali would be a no-fun period for the entire family; even sounds of crackers bursting would trigger seizures in him. She even told the KEM medical team that she didn’t want a disabled child as she saw the sacrifices and troubles her family has been through.

Gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Datar, who helped the woman move the SC, confirmed the baby’s death. Underlining the need to extend the deadline for medical termination beyond the present 20 weeks, Dr Datar said, “An abnormality, whether detected early or late, carries the same prognosis. Just because an arbitrary or unscientific deadline has been crossed doesn’t mean the outcome will change. There is no point in further traumatising a woman, the baby as well as an entire family by prolonging life.”

The medical fraternity has been demanding an increase in the abortion limit to 24 weeks. Dr. Bipin Pandit, a gynaecologist, said, “Many foetal abnormalities can be diagnosed only after 20 weeks. Certain deformities can be diagnosed earlier, but by the time the family comes to terms with the issue, they near the 20-week deadline. The only way to resolve such situations is to increase the abortion limit to 24 weeks.” Dr. Pandit added that the drugs to induce abortion in the second trimester have considerably improved and have become safe and more accessible.

Dr. Pandit said women who are forced to deliver malformed babies and undergo the trauma of seeing them die, are vulnerable to postpartum depression.

He said, “It is very simple. They are expecting a bundle of joy and suddenly someone tells them that there is a problem. But after diagnosing the problem, the solution has been denied to the woman. Is it fair?”

Dr Subha Sri B, chairperson of Chennai-based NGO CommonHealth, pointed out when a woman decides to terminate a pregnancy, it is not a frivolous decision. “It is not as if a woman wakes up one morning and decides to terminate. She may be forced by circumstances, but she is ultimately the one who will face consequences of the birth,” she said. Moreover, the state doesn’t provide any support for women and their special needs children-a point the Diva woman, who hails from a humble background, had raised.

TOI and The Hindu

Beti Bachao: The Declining Sex Ratios Of Indian Cities


Tarun Amarnath

sex ratio_620

 

Contrary to popular perception that the deeply rooted prejudice against girls, reflected in the country’s sex ratio, is mostly present in rural areas, some of the largest cities in India–including Delhi and Mumbai–had imbalanced sex ratios in 2011, according to an analysis of government data.

 

In 2011, for every 1,000 boys aged 0-6 years, there were 852 girls in Mumbai, 832 girls in Delhi, and 942 girls in Hyderabad, according to data put together by Kanya.Life, an initiative founded by Tarun Amarnath, a United States-based high school student, that analyses large and openly accessible data sets on gender provided by the Government of India’s Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner.

 

Data from 2011 is the latest publicly available on sex ratios of Indian cities.

 

The worst child sex ratio was in Mahesana (762 girls per 1,000 boys) in Gujarat, followed by Agra (772) in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Modinagar (778) in UP, and English Bazaar (781) in West bengal (WB), data show. Bally, in WB had more girls (1,185) per 1,000 boys , as did Nagaon (1,043) in Assam, and Tambaram (1,019) in Tamil Nadu.

 

A normal gender ratio at birth is between 102-106 boys per 100 girls, which would be equivalent to 943-980 girls per 1,000 boys, according to a report by organizations working on gender issues. This ratio is not 1,000 boys for every 1,000 girls because it is nature’s way of balancing a higher risk of death for boys as they grow older, according to the World Health Organization.

 

The child sex ratio, which is based on the number of boys and girls between 0 and 6 years of age registered at the time of the census, shows whether sex selection is prevalent in the country. A sex ratio less than the normal range of 943-980 girls per 1,000 boys, suggests discrimination against girls, and the presence of female infanticide, which is the killing of girls after birth, or of female foeticide, sex-selective abortion of the foetus.

 

An adverse child sex ratio is also reflected in the distorted gender makeup of the entire population. In 2031, India will have 936 females per 1,000 males, lower than the sex ratio in 1951 of 946 females per 1,000 males, the World Bank predicts.

 

 

For this story, Kanya.Life used data for India, each of its states, and its 500 most populous cities from 2011, the latest available city-level data. The largest municipality at the time of the census, Greater Mumbai, had a population of 12 million, while the smallest, Nagda in Madhya Pradesh, had a population of 100,000.

 

The average child sex ratio in the largest 500 Indian cities–the total population (221 million) of which is nearly equal to that of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain combined–was 902. Ratios in Indian cities were as bad or worse than those found in rural India in 2011, which has an average child sex ratio of about 923 females per 1,000 males.

 

India’s sex ratio at birth–the number of girls born for every 1,000 boys–since 2011 has slightly improved, from 902 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011 to 903 girls in 2015, according to data from the World Bank. But this ratio is still the fifth worst in the world, better than only Liechtenstein (794), China (867), Azerbaijan (879), and Armenia (883). India’s sex ratio is worse than Pakistan (920), South Korea (952), Nigeria (944), and Nepal (939), according to the World Bank.

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1W0pj7hjXwXg_0PQRJT1wzbGkPZ8byQ1TOpklJcUX2Jo/pubchart?oid=309934495&format=interactive

Source: World Bank

 

How analysing city-level data could help

 

Analysis, when taken down to the level of cities and towns, could help identify trends on gender discrimination which could aid the government and non-governmental organisations combat female foeticide and infanticide.

 

Further, research at a local level could also be used to make communities aware about the problem, and empower them to act.

 

Governments and organisations working on these issues could also learn from cities that have a healthy gender ratio such as Puducherry (Puducherry), Aizawl (Mizoram), Kolar (Karnataka), Kumbakonam (Tamil Nadu), and Nagercoil (Tamil Nadu).

 

Why India’s fight against foeticide, infanticide has failed

 

India’s national child gender ratio has fallen over the past three decades from 945 in 1991 to 918 per 1,000 boys in 2011, according to census data. The states of Haryana, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, and Maharashtra have a ratio lower than 900 girls per 1,000, which could imperil the future gender balance and demographics of the country.

 

In the mid-1960s, new technology that allowed for prenatal gender determination, and thus sex-selective abortion, such as the ultrasound, was brought into India, reported the Times of India in October 2011.

 

The liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s made ultrasound technology more easily available, according to a 2012 discussion paper by researchers at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany. “The number of ultrasound machines manufactured in India increased rapidly between 1988 and 2003 with an especially marked increase after 1994,” found the study, which said that the “initial introduction of ultrasound led to sex-selection,” but the rate of sex-selective abortion did not increase more with the rapid expansion of the technology in the 2000s.

 

The Indian government has implemented regulations to prevent female foeticide arising because of these new technologies. One of the main laws, the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC & PNDT) of 1994 prohibits sex selection, before or after conception, and regulates diagnostic techniques to prevent misuse of sex determination techniques.

 

But these laws are often implemented poorly. For instance, in Maharashtra officials failed to complete 55% of inspections of sonography centers in 2014-2015, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found, as IndiaSpend reported in June 2015. In Gujarat, the shortfall in inspections of sonography center was 73%.

 

Further, In violation of Supreme Court directions to prosecute cases filed under the PC & PNDT Act within six months, cases in Maharashtra and Gujarat continued from one to 12 years.

 

The Uttar Pradesh government has left unspent about half the funds it was allocated to curb female foeticide, according to the CAG, as IndiaSpend reported in October 2016. None of the diagnostic centres followed all mandatory rules of preserving image records or backups taken during the ultrasonography of pregnant women, the CAG audit found. In 68% of cases, women did not even hold the necessary referral slips from their doctors.

 

Disempowered women, culture of dowry, smaller family size, might lead to sex selection

 

Despite significant economic and scientific growth over the past few decades, female infanticide and foeticide remain major issues in India, data show.

 

Reasons for female infanticide include anti-female bias, as women are often seen as subservient to men, who often employ positions of power, according to information from the United Nations Population Fund.

 

In addition, parents believe they will be better taken care of in their old age by men, as men are perceived as the principal wage earners of the family. Parents of girls are usually expected to pay a dowry, which could be a massive expense, avoided by raising males.

 

Coupled with son preference, smaller family sizes might also lead to greater gender selection, as IndiaSpend reported in December 2016. “Sex ratio at birth becomes skewed in favour of boys when fertility rates are low “by choice or coercion”, according to a 2006 article published by the National Academy of Sciences, USA. “Female births must be prevented to allow for the desired number of sons within the family size norm”.

 

India’s sex ratio at birth declined even as per capita income increased nearly 10 times over the last 65 years, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of government data. This could be because rising income, which results in increased literacy, makes it easier for families to access sex-selective procedures such as amniocentesis, or sex determination by using the amniotic fluid, as IndiaSpend reported in June 2015.

 

Though education could help reduce son-preference in India, women need to be empowered more broadly, according to research, as reported by IndiaSpend in May 2016. Education, travel, the freedom to grow and make decisions, and the opportunity to use education just like men are the key ingredients for changing gender perceptions, not education or economic development alone or jointly, as IndiaSpend reported in December 2016.

 

(Amarnath is a high school student and the founder of Kanya.Life. He has a deep interest in applying data science to address large problems in society.)

Child denied abortion, mother asks: What does a 10-yr-old know


The girl, subjected to repeated rape, allegedly by her maternal uncle, is approximately 30 weeks pregnant, according to doctors at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Chandigarh, who have examined the girl.

SHE loves to draw, and her favourite cartoon on television is Pokemon. Her elder sister says her favourite subject is English, though for many months now, she has not attended school. At their one-room home, the servant quarters of a government official’s residence in Chandigarh, the 10-year-old girl walks around for a few minutes in the lawn — “doctors have said she should remain active”, says the mother.

The girl, subjected to repeated rape, allegedly by her maternal uncle, is approximately 30 weeks pregnant, according to doctors at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Chandigarh, who have examined the girl. On July 18, Chandigarh’s Additional District and Sessions Judge Poonam Joshi turned down permission for the medical termination of her pregnancy on the basis of a report by doctors at GMCH who said that if the girl went in for an abortion, there could be “high chances of physical trauma”, considering her age and her health – three years ago, the girl had undergone a surgery at PGIMER for a hole in her heart. A Delhi-based lawyer has now filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court, seeking medical termination of her pregnancy. The case is coming up for hearing on Monday.

“What does she know, she is only 10 years old. She doesn’t understand all this, she has no idea about her pregnancy. Our plight has become public news… we didn’t want that. We just want her to be healthy and happy. We don’t need any help, we are okay alone. Her father doesn’t want us to talk or say anything about her. He is a broken man since we found out,” said the mother, her eyes brimming with tears.

The mother works as a domestic help at the government official’s residence. Her husband is a watchman in the UT administration, and is studying for an MBA degree through correspondence. The family is originally from Nepal and has been living in Chandigarh for several years.

Last week, it was a neighbour who first noticed the 10-year-old’s swollen stomach and brought it to the mother’s notice. “She is a bright girl, regular to school. She would come to me, for help with her English or maths, sometimes with her homework. She was always quick to respond and answer questions. I was the one who asked her mother why her stomach was swollen,” the neighbour said.

“I asked the girl if she was taking medicines for her heart, thinking the swelling could be a side effect of the medicines. She seemed to have put on weight, but the bulge looked like a pregnancy. When I asked her mother if the girl’s periods were regular, she said she hadn’t had them for some months. I asked her to immediately take the child to the doctor,” the woman said.

That same evening of July 13, the mother’s relatives bought home a pregnancy test kit, which confirmed their worst fears. That’s when the girl said her uncle had raped her “five or six times” and allegedly warned her not to talk about it to anyone.

On July 14, the mother lodged an FIR with the police, accusing her brother of rape. The mother told the police that her brother, a watchman in Chandigarh’s Sector 35 and a frequent visitor to their home, had stopped visiting them in March. Police have arrested the 40-year-old, who is now in judicial custody in Burail jail. His wife and three children are in Nepal.

On July 15, after the family approached the district court, the judge ordered the constitution of a medical board with experts from GMCH and asked them to submit a report on the feasibility of medical termination of pregnancy for the 10-year-old.

“We informed the district court that there are high chances of physical trauma. A psychiatrist who was on board concluded, after interacting with the victim, that she doesn’t understand that she is pregnant or the implications of being pregnant,” said a doctor from the Obstetrics & Gynecology department at GMCH who was a member of the medical board constituted by the court.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act(MTP), 1971, does not permit termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks, but in some cases, courts have made exceptions, especially when continuation of the pregnancy poses a danger to the mother or the unborn child.

“‘We submitted our report to the district court after examining the patient and going through the available law and rules. Since the victim’s pregnancy is in an advanced stage, it is a matter of saving two lives. Let the Honorable Supreme Court take a call now on the matter,” said the doctor.

After an examination of the girl, doctors at GMCH found that at this stage, the baby has to be delivered prematurely. “The case can no longer be considered for abortion. It has to be considered as a premature delivery now,” said another doctor at GMCH who is familiar with the case. Doctors said that they cannot predict the outcome of the case or the baby’s chances of survival in case of a premature delivery. The girl’s health, especially her heart ailment, is also a worry, say doctors. “We don’t know what is going to happen in this particular case. The pelvic bones of the 10-year-old are not fully developed,” said the GMCH doctor.

Doctors at GMCH said they are also considering sending the girl to PGIMER. “This is a very unique case and we don’t really know what is going to happen… Infection and hemorrhage to the girl at the time of delivery could be some of them,” said a doctor from the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at PGIMER.

Source:http://indianexpress.com/article/india/child-denied-abortion-mother-asks-what-does-a-10-yr-old-know-4763037/

Delhi Court Says Sex Determination Of Foetus Is Discriminatory To Women


The court made this observation while refusing to release an ultrasound machine, a computer and other medical equipment belonging to a doctor who was allegedly found indulging in sex determination of foetus

Delhi Court Says Sex Determination Of Foetus Is Discriminatory To Women

The court dismissed the revision petition of a doctor, who runs a clinic in Rajouri Garden.

NEW DELHI:  The practices of sex determination and gender selection of the foetus before conception are discriminatory and affect the dignity of women, a Delhi court has said. The court made this observation while refusing to release an ultrasound machine, a computer and other medical equipment belonging to a doctor who was allegedly found indulging in sex determination of foetus.

Additional Sessions Judge Smita Garg said in the cases where doctors indulged in sex determination and misused modern pre-natal diagnostics technology, the prevention of the crime is best achieved by sealing and seizing the machines so that repetition of such crime is curbed.

“It has been noticed that these techniques are being used on a large scale to detect the sex of the foetus and to terminate the pregnancy of the unborn child if found to be female. Nowadays, techniques are also being developed to select the sex of the child before conception.”

“These practices and techniques are clearly discriminatory to the female sex and affect the dignity and status of the women. With the object to regulate the use of such techniques for the dishonest and illegal purpose and to provide deterrent punishment to stop such inhuman acts, Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act was enacted,” the court said.

It said the object of the Act is to prohibit pre-natal diagnostic techniques for determination of sex of the foetus leading to female foeticide.

The court dismissed the revision petition of the doctor, who runs a clinic in Rajouri Garden in west Delhi, challenging a magisterial court’s order denying his plea to release his ultrasound machine on the ground that he might use it again for the same purpose.

Regarding the doctor’s apprehension that the machine would lose its worth if allowed to remain in the police custody, the court said the plea has already been taken care of by the magisterial court by directing senior police officials to keep it in safe to avoid any harm to it.

A raid was conducted at the doctor’s clinic on March 2 last year based on information that sex determination was being carried out there and the equipment were seized.

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