A 13-year-old rape survivor, delivered a baby girl on Monday. Throughout the day and the one that followed, it was difficult for everyone to console her. Her only concerns were:
‘iska kya hoga?’ (what will happen to the baby?) … yeh kiske sahare rahegi? (who will take care of her?)
She is bedridden, weak and has several complications. She is in a dilemma over whether to keep her or give it for adoption as she had told the high court earlier. The Times of India reported that her daughter has been kept in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit due to pre-mature birth and low-birth weight and has been shown only once to her adolescent mother, when she insisted. Her father said,
The baby is not being kept with the mother for health reasons and as it is, we don’t want her to develop any attachment. But things are becoming difficult as human emotions cannot be curtailed. I don’t know what to do, whether to keep the baby or abandon her. I hope God will show us the way.
The girl became pregnant earlier this year when she was raped by a youth. The family is poor and they learnt about the pregnancy after the legal deadline for safe abortion expired. They moved to the high court in September seeking permission to terminate pregnancy, but a panel of doctors appointed by the court said the pregnancy was over 21 weeks and abortion would put her life in peril. The girl had told the court that she would like to give the child for adoption as she cannot live in the society with the embarrassment.
Hailing from a poor family, the girl became pregnant after she was raped by a youth earlier this year. The family learnt about the pregnancy after the legal deadline for safe abortion expired. The family moved the high court in September seeking permission to terminate pregnancy, but a panel of doctors appointed by the court said the pregnancy was over 21 weeks and abortion would put her life in peril. The girl had told the court that she would like to give the child for adoption as she cannot live in the society with the embarrassment.
The court has reserved its verdict on rehabilitation of the teenage survivor and her child. It is also expected to decide on whether her child would entitled to legal rights in the rapist’s property. A panel of senior lawyers have been appointed to assist on the issue. The court has also given strict direction to hide the girl’s identity and has named her as “A” in the court file. In accordance with the court’s directive, the hospital authorities have not allowed anyone except family, doctors and nursing staff to see or meet the girl. The hospital will apprise the court about the health of the girl on Wednesday. “Let’s see what happens in the court”,” said survivor’s father.
“Emotional bond between mother and her newborn is natural,” said a senior official in the hospital administration. A psychiatrist in the hospital said the girl needs to be counseled so that she may be brought back to the mainstream of life. He refused to comment on whether the mother and baby should be kept together saying “we will inform the court about our opinion.”