An Indian woman who was denied a late-term abortion this week said she hopes her child dies at birth, The Indian Express reports.
The woman, 28, petitioned her country’s Supreme Court to have a late-term abortion earlier this year after her unborn child was diagnosed with a disability that affects the brain and spine. The high court denied her request on Monday, according to The Hindu newspaper.
Abortions are illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in India. However, women increasingly have been petitioning the high court for permission to abort their late-term unborn babies because of physical abnormalities.
A medical board that examined the woman in the latest case said her baby may be “born alive,” and the woman’s health is not at risk by continuing the pregnancy. She is due in June.
The woman told the Express that she and her husband were excited when they first learned that they were pregnant. This is their first child. Their attitudes changed several weeks ago when doctors discovered that their unborn child has Arnold Chiari Type II syndrome, which causes brain and spinal abnormalities, according to the report.
“Now I wish my baby dies after birth,” she said, crying.
Here’s more from the report:
Her younger brother, 27, suffers from a similar brain defect. “I have looked after him for 10 years. We know how helpless parents can get seeing their child physically and mentally disabled,” she says. She has to lift her brother, who is paralysed waist down, to feed him or to make him sit in a chair. He has to be rolled over every two hours to avoid bed sores. He has not left home since birth due to this defect.
“I can’t see my child bear this pain. I am not sure if I ever want a second pregnancy now,” she says.
Her father, a peon, is nearing retirement and dreads the thought of another child with similar deformity. “My wife could not detect the defect in her pregnancy. But now we have the opportunity to know the defect before birth. Why are we forced to bring such a child into this world?” he questions.
The woman openly admitted that what she wants is to have her unborn child killed.
“Who wants to kill their own child? It is the hardest decision I had to take. But what option do I have?” she told the Express.
The family’s gynecologist who spoke to the newspaper said the baby’s brain is not fully developed, and the baby may not survive.
In February, the India Supreme Court rejected another woman’s request for a late-term abortion because her unborn baby has Down syndrome. The Free Press Journal reports the high court said the woman’s life was not at risk and her baby should not be aborted simply because of the genetic condition. The woman was 26 weeks pregnant at the time, past the point when her unborn child was viable outside the womb.
“It is sad that the child may suffer from physical and mental challenges and it’s unfortunate for the mother but we can’t allow an abortion…We have a life in our hands,” the court said.