Belgaum incident: abortion of female foetuses not ruled out

The Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at the Belgaum Institute of Medical Sciences (BIMS), which examined the foetuses found in Hiraynakeshi river at Sankeshwar in the district, has not ruled out the possibility of abortion of female foetuses while pointing out that some of these were cases of induced abortion and the findings were suggestive that “these foetuses might not have been subjected to legal medical termination of pregnancy (MTP)”.

Sixteen foetuses were found in the river on January 27 and the police had handed over the same to BIMS for forensic analysis.

According to the forensic report prepared by K.S. Gurudut, Assistant Professor in the Department of Forensic Medicine, which was made available to the media here on Friday, of the 16 specimens, three were female foetuses, one male, one with congenital anomaly, eight mummified specimen and three uterus-like specimens (which have been forwarded for further histopathological examination to confirm whether it is uterus and if so for presence/absence of products of conception).

The report indicated that six specimen showed changes due to formaline preservation.

Further, gestation age of five specimen was five to eight months. MTP is usually done only up to a maximum of five months of gestational age. “This is suggestive that these foetesus may not have been subjected to legal MTP. These foetuses have been removed as a whole and not in bits and pieces, which indicates not spontaneous but induced abortion.”

Dr. Gurudut pointed out that the probable reasons could be because of intrauterine death or maternal pregnancy complications threatening the life of mother (following which the foetus has be removed). The other reason could be “sex determination and thus the abortion of female foetus cannot be ruled out”.

He observed that specimens whose age and sex were recognisable showed evidence of being still-born. “There are no findings to suggest that they were born alive and later killed.”

Meanwhile, District Health and Family Welfare Officer Dilip C. Manoli said that show-cause notice had been issued to two ultrasound scanning centres for not maintaining proper records.

Various teams of health department officials visited scanning centres, health centres and hospitals, and nursing homes across the district on Wednesday and Thursday.

They might not have been subjected to legal medical termination of pregnancy

‘Removal of foetuses as a whole indicates induced abortion’