Less than a week after the discovery of a botched abortion in Madurai which led to the death of a 28-year-old woman, a probe panel has been constituted by the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services to investigate the death.
According to a report in the Times of India, a two-member fact-finding mission will investigate the incident that took place in Usilampatti in Madurai district.
According to the police, Ramuthayi, who was in the seventh month of her pregnancy, went to a private hospital on Saturday, requesting an abortion. However, since the termination of pregnancies over 20 weeks is illegal, she was turned away by the doctor. On her way out of the hospital, she met Jayalakshmi — a nurse she had befriended, — who offered to perform the operation.
Jayalakshmi administered an injection to abort the pregnancy on Saturday evening, Ramuthayi was pronounced dead the next day. Jayalakshmi has been arrested.
After news broke about the incident, there was suspicion that Ramuthayi and her husband Ramar, who already have three children, opted for sex-selective abortion. According to TOI, which quotes N Rukmini, Director of Medical and Rural Health Services, the foetus was male.
“The medical officers say ultrasound scans were done to check the health of the foetus. But the report does not mention the sex of the baby, as per the law. We don't know who misled the woman. Senior officers from the health department and the police will investigate the matter and submit a report,” she said.
While prenatal sex determination has been prohibited in India since 1994 and is a punishable offence, there are still pockets where female infanticide continues to take place in the state.
According to the newspaper, Jayalakshmi has been booked under Indian Penal Code Section 314 (Death caused by act done with intent to cause miscarriage), Section 6(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, and Section 15(3) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.