Rita Jena, a mother of three, is pregnant and expecting for the fourth time. But this time there’s a catch. Not only was the pregnancy unplanned, but the woman had also made a conscious decision to undergo a tubectomy to prevent any further pregnancies. Things didn’t entirely turn out as planned, though, because three months after the tubectomy, Rita Jena found out that she was pregnant. Pregnancy is great news if you are expecting a child, but if you’ve made the decision not to have a baby, it can be a cause of severe physical and mental trauma.
Rita and her husband are not financially equipped to support another child — a very valid concern in most families. The woman shared how she already has three other children to support, and this in itself was no walk in the park. Both husband and wife had consulted their doctor, who advised them to undergo a tubectomy. The procedure was performed in March at the Markandpur Community Health Center by one of their gynecologists.
Her story doesn’t end there — Rita Jena says that she doesn’t have much of a choice but to go ahead with the pregnancy, as abortion is illegal. Numerous complaints fell on deaf ears, after which she reached out to the Chief District Medical Officer, asking for the compensation she is entitled to. She also requested that action be taken against the doctor responsible for her surgery, so the same thing doesn’t happen to someone else who is in a similar position. The officials have said that financial help will be provided, but no one really knows when that will come to fruition.
This Isn’t Just A One-Off
Sadly, this isn’t just the story of Rita Jena. Thousands of women find themselves in this situation, and it is really unfair and unfortunate. This brings to light an important topic that is a cause for concern in today’s world — abortion. Several women are deprived of making a choice when it comes to their own bodies, simply because society or the government won’t allow it. There are several reasons why a woman would not want to have a child, and someone else making that decision for her seems rather unfair, doesn’t it?
Sometimes, like Rita, it could be because of financial constraints. Bringing up a child requires you to be financially capable. No parent would want their children to suffer from poverty. When you know already that you won’t be able to provide the necessary care, safety and living conditions, you wouldn’t really want to bring that child into this world to struggle.
Other times, it could be because of health conditions. Women who suffer from health conditions such as heart issues, preeclampsia, diabetes, and other ailments can get pregnant too. Unfortunately, the pregnancy can be life-threatening to them and their unborn child. The only option here is sterilization to prevent such pregnancies or abortion to undo what’s happened (1). Why go through a pregnancy that can cause a high risk to both the mother and child? It would be totally wrong to force a woman suffering from such health conditions to go through a pregnancy.
Women subjected to domestic violence, or even rape, often find themselves in pregnancies they do not wish to continue. Pregnancies caused in these situations are forceful and not something the victim wished to have upon herself. Although the choice of having a baby is entirely up to the woman, not many of them are given the opportunity to make that call. So the victims have to suffer over and over again.
Other factors that come into play could be that a woman wants to pursue her career options or education, all of which might not be easy to materialize if there is a child in the picture. And finally, sometimes, a woman decides not to have a child simply because she doesn’t want to. And no one has the right to question her because it is her body, her life, and her decision at the end of the day.
Similarly, the decision to get yourself sterilized is a personal choice. Sterilization is one of the best methods of family planning. It can be done on a man or a woman, as there are different ways to get sterilized. Tubectomy is one such form of sterilization, where the fallopian tubes in a woman’s reproductive system are blocked, or a part of it is removed (2).
Vasectomy is another method of sterilization that is performed on men, where the supply of the sperm is blocked so that it doesn’t mix with the semen during intercourse (3).
In addition to being a permanent solution, sterilization is also cost-effective and safe, as it is conducted by healthcare professionals. Couples can decide to undergo sterilization as it would allay their fears of causing unwanted accidental pregnancies. So, when mishaps occur, such as in Rita’s case, it can leave all of us feeling insecure and anxious. It makes us question whether the sterilization we underwent is really effective and what if we accidentally end up with another baby. And what power do we have when the mistake is done on the doctor’s side? While medical mistakes do happen every once in a while, the least we can expect is acceptance of the mistake and fair compensation for it. It’s crucial that women are provided with safe and reliable medical interventions.
Thanks to no fault of her own, Rita has been at the receiving end of a battle she might not even win. Abortion, like she said, is not much of an option in a society that frowns upon it, and any financial burden that she has to bear will be her burden alone. We hope that Rita gets some respite, maybe through monetary compensation and another safe surgery that actually works. Through her story, we hope that people are more aware of what can go down when the system fails you. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!
- Medical problems in pregnancy
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- Continuing Education Activity