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The Mehtas and their unborn child

Mr. and Mrs. Mehta could have got the job done illegaly. They could have bribed some doctor to kill the foetus. There is nothing wrong if they don’t want a child with congenital heart disease.

The couple did NOT get the job done illegaly, like so many others in India do. The reasons for illegal child abortions are of course different. In most of the cases, the reason isn’t even close to being as genuine as this couple’s. Some of them don’t want a child merely because it’s a girl. Usually by the time you know the gender (gender disclosure is illegal at the first place), you have already crossed the legal limit of pregnancy (I guess that stands at 20 weeks).

Mrs. Mehta has crossed the legal limit too. She is more than 20 weeks pregnant (by a month). She knows that her child is not going to be healthy. Sadly, she knows it only after she has crossed the legal limit. Was it her fault that she came to know about it late? No. The doctor’s could figure out the problem only a little late. Then should she be forced to let go of her dream of giving birth to a healthy child? The law allows one to go for abortion, even after the legal limit has been crossed, only if can be proved that the mother’s life could be in danger. She cannot prove that. But does she need to?

A couple tries to get a rightful thing done legally and what does Bombay high court do? It shows the couple a piece of paper which says you cannot abort after 20 weeks till mother’s life is in danger. An excuse of an outdated (read 37 years old) law to force a family to have a child against their wish? It’s the couple who is going to raise the child, godammit, and they aren’t even asking for a permission to abort the child because it’s going to be a girl or because they suddenly had a mood change and didn’t want an extra member in the family. Forget about everything else. Isn’t it genuine enough a reason, when the would-be parents know they don’t have enough money to pay for a pace-maker that needs to replaced every five years? This is such a personal decision!

You know what I think? I think that the couple lost the case only because it didn’t/couldn’t hire a good lawyer. I hope that someday someone sets things right. The story for now is over. I don’t know why the couple didn’t go for an illegal solution to the problem. They probably took it to their ego, when some doctor refused to abort the child even after telling them that the child would be born with defects. They probably were convinced that they had the ‘right’ to get rid of a baby they didn’t want to raise. Or they simply had the guts to fight for justice. In my opinion, they do have the right. In the opinion of law, they don’t. Can someone fuck this law please?

Do you know what the minster had to say over the case? “As it is today, going by just one case, I do not think the law can be amended“.

Hello minister, there is just one case, because unlike so many couples who kill the foetus everyday illegaly, the Mehtas had the guts to go by law and file a case. Salute their guts like the rest of the nation and grow up. We all change with time. So should the laws.

Update: The title original had ‘Mehta’s‘ instead of the now ‘Mehtas‘. The change was implemented on Aug 09, 2008. Thanks to TF for bringing the error to my notice.

23 replies on “The Mehtas and their unborn child”

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Dude I don’t care a damn about what the law states regarding this (like you said, most of them are outdated anyways!)… but just wanna share something that holistic health practitioners believe (people who believe in the connection of mind, body & spirit and in karma & reincarnations etc)…

It is believed (with considerable scientific evidence now) that there are psychosomatic reasons for all health ailments, or in simple words, your thought patterns govern the state of your health. By changing your thoughts, you can even experience a full recovery from cancer.

Birth defects however are slightly different… they are attributed to some unfinished karmic business. We choose to come that way into the world for certain requisites of our learning curve. Those defects then pose as a challenge, spurring us (as well as our family) onto growth.

In that sense, it surely is against the Nature to interfere. What if the baby developed the heart prb few weeks after being born? Wud the parents still kill the baby? By interfering with the bigger scheme of things, we only end up creating more Karma for ourselves. It’s best to let the baby come into the world, deal with his/her Karma, the parents also clear whatever Karmic debts they need to balance by taking care of that baby and basically let Nature run its course.

Some of the most challenging situations in life are the ones that teach us the most and help us become better and stronger persons. That being said, if the baby is not meant to live in this world, he/she won’t… regardless of whether they abort it or not. My brother was born perfectly healthy, and yet he couldn’t even make it back to our house from the hospital! Choked on some milk that the nurse missed to wipe off from his face, which eventually entered his nose! Bottomline: what is meant to happen WILL happen.

That’s one school of thought. You believe in it. So do many other. But is there any belief that’s universal? Don’t you think everyone has the right to believe in his/her own school of thought?

For example if it were me, I probably would have gone ahead with the decision of having a child with defect, although not because of all that you described. Similarly if it were you, you would have also gone ahead with the decision to give birth, in your case, because of your faith in Karma.

But why force someone to take such a personal decision? That’s all I ask.

i also read the story…and felt really disgusted after reading the verdict that the court gave..
i totally believe that the mother’s decision on this issue should be final..after all, she is the one going through the pain and what abt the emotional attachment with the baby? its anyway difficult enough for her to decide to go for an abortion (that is when the baby is not born). once the baby is born, how will she feel, when she sees the child suffering each day and eventually when he dies underage.. will the court provide the emotional solace then??

hey – i wrote about this too…

i’d just like to make a point that i havent made on my own blog yet

– its a sad state when we give people so much credit for being law abiding. abiding by the law doesnt mean the law will rule in your favour. if you have an accident on the road and are willing go to court – the court will not set you free without a punishment…

so its sad to see that we’re all so surprised that the mehtas went to court and not to a quack. the law says abortions after 20 weeks are risky for the mother. now naturally if they went to a quack or some shadey alley at this stage they run the risk of losing the mother. …. so they had to go to court and get a decent doctor to abort the baby…

sigh. so many little complications… dont u think?

i love the attitude of this website. 🙂 came here via MM’s blog to read ur take on abortion and was impressed with the header and then your strong words. keep the spirit up!!! 🙂

Amrit, do you think a person can tell you to kill life ??
If he didn’t agree to killing the baby, it would be born and may be it will live for 15 yrs; may be it will die immediately; may it will be still born
there are so many possibilities.
how can someone agree to killa life without knowing what will happen ?
If someone has AIDS and he told he will die soon will he commit suicide that day itself ? (some do due to psychological reasons)
Every living creature struggles for survival. You have no right to curb that.
I know of a baby who was born and the parents were told that it will die within 5 yrs if not very soon. She is 24 now and happy.
The point is You cannot take the risk of killing something that might have a future. You are not God.

I believe it’s a personal decision. At least as long, as the baby doesn’t come out. Till the baby is inside the mom’s womb, no one but the mom should have the exclusive right to decide what she wants. The baby and herself are not separate.

If I were the mom, I probably would have went ahead with the delivery. But shouldn’t every mom have the right to decide? They bear all the pain. They are gonna give birth. And if some mom does not want to do so for whatever reason (as long the reason is hers, and not being forced by someone or some group), then in my opinion, she should be allowed to exercise her choice.

And yes, of course, I am not God. 🙂

“so its sad to see that we’re all so surprised that the mehtas went to court and not to a quack”

I do not agree to it that quack are the only options available. Good doctors and decent clinics can be bribed too. This is India.

Many moms don’t want to give birth to a girl child… So is it fair to kill them ?

you are right. It is a personal choice. But if we let it go as a personal choice another day an innocent life may die based on this statement. Just for a few exceptions, law cannot be changed. If they amend the law today then it just gives lawyers another loop hole to use for, say, killing an unwanted baby.

If your first line is true, yes I agree with you, the law should not be changed.

But I always thought that a mother could never want her foetus to be killed just because of she/he being a girl/boy. I always thought that they were the fathers, family, village, everyone else, who forced the mother to abort. I don’t know what makes you say, “many moms” don’t want to give birth to a girl child.

You should realize that after having kept a child for more than 20 weeks inside you, a normal human being, cannot relate to the idea of letting it go without an extremely traumatic experience.

About the issue of lawyer’s finding out loop holes, and killing babies issue: Should you forget that you are living in India? Any idea what is rate of illegal foetus killings in this country is? Why isn’t this current law being able to take care of them? And any idea what is the average rate of child miscarriage anyway, because of lack of good health infrastructure? Why isn’t government spending enough on health to make sure no mother, who wants her child badly, loses it?

You are talking about the risk of few layers misutilizing a law when so many foetus already die in the country? Don’t you think a better approach would be to upgrade the law and then try to remove the loopholes?

yes.. villagers and men force women… what i meant was if it is put across that way (utilising the loop holes) that a woman wants to abort her child..
“Any idea what is rate of illegal foetus killings in this country is?” so ?? you want to do it legally. Things go one illegally, so its ok to do it legally once in a while ?

Law always has loopholes. Everything has. True we need to work to reduce them. So before you make a change you think about the consequences.

BTW…
I m down to argument not because I agree with the law. I keep thinking there ought to be another way out. I do not disagree with the Mehtas.
The reason why i am arguing is becasue your approach was (how do I say it) cynical (?)
It’s a very arguable topic. It’s a tough decision from both the sides. Just take a broader view.

PS: it’s not “Mehta’s”, its “Mehtas”

When I asked if you know about the rate of illegal foetus killings in India, my intention was to prove to you that just because a law exist, doesn’t mean it serves its purpose.

Yes I agree with you when you say that one should think about the consequences before making the changes. Totally agree. We should. We have to. The order of the day is change, with proper thinking, as you say. I never was proposing a blunt change in the law just because we have this one case coming to limelight. As you say, there could be other effects, negative on that, if any existing law is changed. You are totally true.

The mistake regretted and rectified. Thanks for pointing it out. Thanks also for carrying forward the discussion. It helped both of us in giving more thought to this delicate issue.

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