Suspected sex-selective abortion turns fatal for 7-month pregnant woman in TN

Nurse administered injection to mother of three girl children

September 19, 2018 12:33 am | Updated 09:08 am IST - Madurai

Image for representation purpose only.

Image for representation purpose only.

A suspected sex-selective abortion, performed by a nurse, proved fatal for a 28-year-old woman, R. Ramuthai, of Uthapanaickanoor, near Usilampatti in Madurai district, on Tuesday.

Police suspect the victim, a mother of three girls and seven months pregnant with a fourth child, could have opted to abort her foetus upon learning through an illegal sex determination test that she was carrying a female foetus. Legally, a pregnancy can be aborted only within 20 weeks.

Ms. Ramuthai’s husband Ramar claimed he was unaware of her attempt to abort the baby. Usilampatti came under the national spotlight for in the late 90s for the high incidence of female infanticide and foeticide.

The Usilampatti inspector of police, Madasamy, said the woman, along with her aunt, had initially approached a private hospital in Usilampatti for the abortion. The doctor there had refused to carry out the procedure, citing the advanced stage of pregnancy.

However, a nurse at the hospital promised to help Ms. Ramuthai.

The nurse, Jothilakshmi, who allegedly administered an injection to terminate the pregnancy at her home in Uthapanaickanoor, has been arrested.

“We got information about the death of Ramuthai at the house of the nurse,” Mr. Madasamy said. Her body was brought to the Government Rajaji hospital in Madurai for a post-mortem.

Deputy Director (Health Services) K.V. Arjunkumar said the woman, who lived in the Ezhumalai block, had not registered with the Primary Health Centre after she got pregnant. “Even when a village health nurse on Monday asked about her health, the woman had denied that she was pregnant,” Dr. Arjunkumar said.

A medical team visited the woman’s house after her death. “During our enquiry, Ramuthai’s mother told us that she had gone to a scan centre in Usilampatti on Monday. Subsequently, she had gone for abortion through the private nurse. The nurse had administered an injection and Ramuthai died around noon,” Dr. Arjunkumar said.

When asked whether the woman had gone for a sex-selective abortion as she already had three girl children, Joint Director (Health Services) V.R. Vijayalakshmi said she was yet to see the scan report. The officials have not identified the scan centre visited by Ms. Ramuthai.

Stringent action

Madurai Collector S. Natarajan said the Joint Director (Health Services) had been asked to conduct an inquiry and take stringent action if the sex of foetus had been revealed to the mother in violation of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act.

“I am not aware of her attempt to abort the pregnancy. I came to know about the entire episode only when I was told about her death,” said S. Vellai, 60, Ms. Ramuthai’s father. Mr. Vellai said Ms. Ramuthai, along with her aunt Malarkodi, had left home at Uthapuram, near Ezhumalai, on Monday evening. Ms. Ramuthai’s husband, Ramar, said he was unaware of her attempt to abort the baby.

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