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Rape survivor who lost abortion appeal delivers in ambulance

Officials deny allegations made by teenager’s family that nurse refused to attend to her

Gulf News

New Delhi: A teenage rape survivor who lost a legal battle to terminate her unwanted pregnancy on Thursday gave birth to a baby boy in an ambulance as she was being taken to a district hospital after a local nurse refused to attend to her.

On Wednesday night, the 16-year-old was taken to a local community health centre in an ambulance after she complained of labour pain.

The nurse on duty refused to assist her when she realised that it was a rape case and asked family members to take the girl to Bareilly city hospital.

“The nurse in the local community health centre refused to attend to her and asked us to take her away to district hospital. She refused to assist in her delivery when she came to know it was a rape case,” the girl’s uncle informed Gulf News.

The nurse also declined to arrange an ambulance.

“The nurse told us that we should arrange for the conveyance ourselves. She refused to arrange an ambulance for my niece. While the girl was in labour pain, the nurse had the temerity to suggest to us to take her away in an auto rickshaw,” he added.

Bareilly Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Vijay Yadav denied allegations made by the teenager’s family against the nurse at the community health centre.

“The nurse at the community health centre must have referred the girl to the district hospital to avoid any complications during delivery. There can’t be any other reason,” Yadav told media.

The girl’s father told Gulf News that “we ran from pillar to post to abort the foetus but nobody tried to understand the pain of my daughter. She was forced to give birth to the baby. We have no idea what to do with the child now. We want the court to give the child up for adoption or ask the family of the accused to keep him.”

The teenager was repeatedly raped by her neighbour on the pretext of marriage. The neighbour abandoned her when she conceived.

When her family learnt about the crime, they lodged a police complaint on June 7. Her medical report stated that she was 19 weeks and six days pregnant at that time.

According to police, “the girl was employed at her neighbour’s house as a cook. The man was immediately arrested and jailed after the rape complaint was lodged.”

For the past five months, the teenager and her family ran from courts to police to plead for termination of the foetus.

In her petition on July 26 at the court of additional chief judicial magistrate for termination of her then 26-week pregnancy, the teenager had said that she would not be in a position to raise the baby because of her weak financial situation and because the child would be a constant reminder of trauma and shame.

The court had rejected her plea. The family then moved the Allahabad High Court (HC) on August 24, requesting intervention. The HC ordered Bareilly CMO to review her case.

However, on September 13, a medical panel declined permission for abortion citing advanced stage of pregnancy.