The choices women make are often judged, ridiculed, and mocked. In far too many cases, people resort to controlling women and their choices based on their beliefs. Rather than allowing women to make their own decisions, people would prefer to control women with no regard for their health and mental wellbeing. Abortions allow women to put their body, health, and personal choice first, instead of prioritising the birth of a child above a woman. However, forced abortions take away a women’s right to choose and impact their physical and mental health. In a horrific case of bypassing a woman’s right to choose and forcing her to comply with unsafe demands, a woman allegedly died by suicide after being forced to undergo 14 abortions.
A 33-year-old woman from Delhi reported ended her life after she was forced to undergo abortion 14 times by her live-in partner. The incident took place on July 5 in the Jaitpur area in southeast Delhi.
The Delhi police found a suicide note that alleged she was in a live-in relationship with a man who had promised to marry her and had a physical relationship with her under false pretences. The woman alleged that she underwent 14 forced abortions in the span of eight years on the insistence of her live-in partner.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) Esha Pandey said that a case was registered against the accused under sections 306 (abetment of suicide), 376 (rape), and 313 (causing miscarriage without women’s consent) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The woman had been living separately from her husband for around eight years. The woman’s husband was also called in for questioning and informed the police that they parted ways around eight years ago.
As per a report by The Hindu, the deceased’s brother claimed that his sister was being harassed by her husband and his family. He said that her husband would physically assault her and that she filed a case against him in 2016 regarding the assault. The brother added that he was unaware of his sister’s relationship with the accused and that she had two daughters, aged 14 and 12 years.
Suggested Reading: The Right To Abortion Should Be A Woman’s Decision
Horrifically, the Delhi woman reportedly got 14 forced abortions on the insistence of her live-in partner. He allegedly had physical relations with her under the false pretence that they would get married and the woman felt that there was “no other option” than suicide.
The man controlled and manipulated the woman into following his outrageous demands, without considering the toll the 14 forced abortions would take on her body and mental state. He selfishly put his own needs above the well-being of the woman. The man did not want to be married to the woman or have children with the woman and decided that lying to her and forcing her to get abortions was the right move, as per reports.
While research shows that abortions can be safer than carrying a baby to term, they can still negatively impact a woman’s body and mental health. When women undergo forced abortions rather than having abortions of their own free will, then their mental health takes a toll.
Female foeticide plays a large role in forced abortions and research found that India accounts for half of the world’s missing female births due to sex-selective abortions. While prenatal sex determination has been criminalised in India since 1994, the law is often broken and prenatal sex determination has become easily accessible.
Cases of forced abortions, female foeticide, and female infanticides are all too prevalent in India.
In 2020, a 28-year-old woman in Karnataka died after she allegedly underwent a forced abortion as her in-laws did not want a third female child. It was revealed that the woman was pregnant with a girl child due to prenatal sex determination and the woman’s husband, his brother, and his mother arranged for an illegal and forced abortion.
The desire to have a male child rather than female child results in women being forced to have illegal and unsafe abortions. Women are put in danger for the sake of their male partner and their family’s preference for a male child.
Views expressed by the author are their own.