The baby boy of a young rape victim died Sunday in India after he was spared from a late-term abortion.
Last week, the Supreme Court of India gave the boy’s mother, a 13-year-old victim of rape, permission to have a late-term abortion, but she gave birth to him instead on Friday.
NTDV reports the baby boy died Sunday, likely of respiratory problems, after he was born about 8 weeks prematurely. He weighed 1.8 kilograms (about 4 pounds) at birth.
A spokesperson at JJ Hospital in Mumbai said an autopsy is being conducted, but the baby boy probably died because his lungs were underdeveloped.
“It is possible that he bled inside his chest and brain as well but we will know only after a post mortem,” the spokesperson said.
Doctors said they put the baby on a ventilator early Sunday when his condition became critical; he died later that morning, Manorama Online reports.
The baby’s mother, who underwent a cesarean section, is doing well physically and expected to go home in several days, according to the report. How she is faring emotionally local news reports did not indicate. Previously, doctors said the young girl was severely traumatized by the sexual assault and pregnancy; now, dealing with her baby boy’s death will be another struggle.
When the baby boy was born alive, the family decided to raise him themselves rather than make an adoption plan, according to NDTV.
Last week, the Supreme Court of India gave the girl permission to have a late-term abortion because of risks to her health. However, some reports suggested that the court’s permission for a “termination of pregnancy” may have meant inducing preterm labor and premature birth, not killing the unborn baby. Others suggested that doctors did not go through with the abortion because they later determined that an abortion would be too risky. LifeNews has not been able to verify the details that led to the baby’s birth.
Abortions are illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in India. However, women increasingly have been petitioning the high court for permission to abort their unborn babies after 20 weeks in cases involving fetal abnormalities or sexual assault.
Sneha Mukherjee, a lawyer for the young teen, previously said the girl has been traumatized by the whole experience, and recovery will be a long process.
“It will take a lot of time for her to recover from the trauma but this comes as a big relief. Expecting a 13-year-old girl to bear a child is just unimaginable,” Mukherjee said.
The man who raped her, allegedly one of her father’s co-workers, has been arrested.
The 13-year-old girl’s parents said they were not aware of the abuse or their young daughter’s pregnancy until about a month ago. They said they took her to the doctor because she was rapidly gaining weight, and they thought she was having problems with her thyroid.
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Gynecologist Dr Nikhil Datar told the BBC: “She was brought to me by her parents on 9 August. They suspected she had a thyroid problem or some other medical condition because she was gaining weight. The scan showed that she was 27 weeks pregnant so I informed the police.”
Datar said the young girl understands that she is pregnant, though she does not comprehend the full impact of her condition. Datar recommended a late-term abortion, arguing that the girl’s pelvis is not fully developed and childbirth could cause her physical and mental trauma.
A late-term abortion is a very risky, multiple day procedure that can kill the mother as well as her unborn baby. On the first day, the abortionist typically injects a poison into the unborn baby’s heart or head to kill them. They also begin to dilate the mother’s cervix to prepare for childbirth. On the third or fourth day, they induce labor and the mother gives birth to her dead baby.
For this reason, the Supreme Court of India rejected another family’s request for a late-term abortion earlier this summer. In that case, the 10-year-old girl’s parents requested the late-term abortion without their daughter’s knowledge; the Supreme Court of India rejected their petition after medical examiners determined that the abortion could endanger the 10-year-old girl’s life.
The 10-year-old delivered her child via cesarean section on Aug. 17, according to the local news. Alakh Alok Srivastava, a lawyer for the girl’s family, told CNN that the girl’s parents are making an adoption plan for the baby.