Seven arrested in India over suspected illegal abortions

Remains of a dozen foetuses were found in a biogas pit

Indian police arrest staff after 11 foetal skulls discovered at hospital. Source: Bhanudas Pidurkar/Police

Indian police have made seven arrests at a hospital in western Maharashtra after a rape survivor aged 13 said she was forced to have an abortion.

Officers investigating the case found the remains of a dozen foetuses in a biogas plant on the premises.

“We have arrested seven people including a doctor, two nurses and staff for illegally carrying out the abortion. The doctor failed to inform us about the victim when she had come for the abortion,” Insp Bhanudas Pidurkar told The National.

“We also recovered skulls and bones of foetuses from the biogas plant and sent them for a post mortem and forensic analysis. An investigation is on to ascertain if these were aborted legally,” Mr Pidurkar said.

Indian law mandates hospitals to inform authorities of pregnancies in minors and those thought to have resulted from rape.

The girl told officers she became pregnant when she was raped by a boy aged 17, and that his family had forced her to have an abortion.

Her mother said the director of the clinic, a doctor, performed the termination in secret early this month, when her daughter was five months pregnant.

The doctor was arrested on Wednesday. Hospital staff told police they had dumped the medical waste in a pit, where officers found the remains of at least 12 foetuses.

Last year, the gestational limit for terminations was increased from 20 to 24 weeks in some cases, including pregnancies in minors or those resulting from incest or rape.

Abortion on the basis of sex is illegal in India, but continues in practice, overwhelmingly when the foetus is female.

In 2018, a homeopath from Sangli, Maharashtra, was arrested after 19 aborted foetuses were recovered from a road near his practice.

Updated: January 15th 2022, 3:00 PM