A less than five-month-old unborn baby boy was found in the women’s toilet near the gynaecology OPD of a Delhi government hospital in South Delhi’s Malviya Nagar on Monday afternoon.
The foetus, abandoned in the toilet after the mother underwent what appears to be an abortion, was found by hospital staff when they went in to clean the toilet at around 3pm.
“The woman may have had drugs to induce an abortion and left the hospital without informing anyone after the abortion occurred. What was surprising is that the woman disappear so quickly after the abortion because the process would have physically and mentally exhausted her,” said Dr R Chugh, medical superintendent of the hospital.
Unsafe abortions kill 10 women each day in India, where an estimated 6.8 million women choose methods each year to terminate pregnancies that threaten their health and life.
The police was informed and a case filed. “We are also looking at the CCTV footage to identify the mother,” said Dr Chugh.
If the mother is found, action is unlikely to be taken against her. “The foetus was that of a boy and it was less than 20 weeks, which is whin the permissible limit till when abortions are legal in India. So she hasn’t broken the law,” Dr Chugh said.
India’s Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act legalises abortions up to 20 weeks if there is threat to the mother’s life or her physical or mental health, or if the unborn baby has abnormalities, but many women end up using unsafe abortions methods because they don’t know where or who to go because there are not enough legal providers. Many don’t even know it’s legal to abort up to 20 weeks.