A 28-year-old woman died in Usilampatti near Madurai after an unsafe abortion was performed on her by an attendant of a private hospital on Saturday. The police have arrested the attendant, identified as Jayalakshmi.
According to police sources, the woman, Ramuthayi, lived in Peraiyur taluk in Madurai district with her husband Ramar and their three daughters. Ramuthayi was seven months into her fourth pregnancy and visited a private hospital in the town for her routine medical check-ups. It was there that she befriended Jayalakshmi.
On Saturday, Ramuthayi went to the hospital requesting an abortion. However, since the termination of pregnancies over 20 weeks is illegal, she was turned away by the doctor. While she was coming out of the hospital, she met Jayalakshmi, who offered to perform the operation on her.
Ramuthayi, accepting the invitation, went to Jayalakshmi’s house in the evening, where she was administered an injection to abort the fetus. On Sunday morning, when Jayalakshmi went to wake Ramuthayi up, she found her unconscious and called the hospital for help.
Speaking to TNM, the investigating officer said that the doctor in the hospital pronounced Ramuthayi dead after she was brought to the hospital.
“Ramuthayi and Ramar did not want this pregnancy and Ramuthayo had been taking pills to abort the foetus since the third month of her pregnancy. Since the pills did not work, she decided to abort the baby with Jayalakshmi’s help,” he added.
The police suspect that the attempt to abort the foetus could be after she found out that the baby she was expecting is a girl. The couple has three daughters.
The police arrested Jayalakshmi on Sunday afternoon and took her into custody.
“We have not got any leads about female foeticide but we are still investigating to see if Ramuthayi had got herself scanned. Once we get more details, we will be able to tell the exact reason as to why this happened,” said the police officer.
Prenatal sex determination is prohibited in India since 1994 and is a punishable offence.
The District Collector of Madurai, S Natarajan told TNM that the Joint Director of Health Services and the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) are investigating the matter and further action will be initiated based on their report.