Two days after the Supreme Court allowed a 13-year-old rape survivor to undergo abortion after 31 weeks of gestation, the girl underwent a Caesarean procedure at the state-run J J Hospital at 1.45 pm Friday, giving birth to a boy. The newborn is on neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) support and weighs 1.8 kg. As intra-uterine foeticide is not practised, doctors had to induce early labour. “The baby is stable and will be under observation. Since this is a pre-term delivery, the weight is low,” said Dr Ashok Anand, head of gynaecology at the hospital. The minor will remain in hospital for at least seven days.
Her mother looked grim and confused as she waited outside the operation theatre for her daughter. She saw the baby in the OT but refrained from visiting the NICU. “My daughter is stable. She is talking to me. We have not decided if we want to keep the baby. My husband will decide,” she said. The girl was silent, speaking only in whispers when her mother came close.
According to doctors, they opted for the caesarean procedure because of the minor’s age. “The pelvic bone structure is small and normal delivery is not possible. She was also not physically fit to deliver normally,” Dr Anand said. If the family opts to give up the baby, the state will take custody and put the newborn up for adoption.
The rape victim had approached the Supreme Court to terminate her pregnancy after a sonography on August 9 showed that she was 27 weeks pregnant. A delay caused by her initial admission to the children’s shelter home by the Women and Child Department, followed by delay in documentation due to holidays led to her pregnancy progressing to an advanced stage.
By the time the case came up for hearing in the apex court, she had reached 31 weeks of gestation. A medical panel at JJ Hospital had suggested terminating pregnancy, observing the mental trauma of the child, following which the court ruled in her favour on Wednesday.