There is a big hue and cry in Sharma household nowadays. Naina, 41, in her 18th week of pregnancy found that she is carrying a female baby. This came as a shock to them especially her husband Govind. They have three daughters and it was Govind’s strong desire to have a son that forced Naina to plan this baby. She did not want another child being content with her three daughters. She would also find it difficult to manage resources and energy to take care of them and was planning to join her father’s business to support Govind financially.
Govind and her in-laws want her to abort and try another time for a boy with Naina feeling strongly against it. This unexpected turn is creating havoc in Naina’s life. With many questions running wild in her, she is asking herself:
Do I go ahead with this abortion? Already my daughters are not getting the love from their father and grandparents, what will happen to this one?
Even if I abort, I am not going to do it for trying another baby, I will do it to maintain peace in the house.
NO, I cannot do this! What right I have to end this life in me?
Oh God! This is so difficult! I can’t decide, what to do.
Naina is finding herself trapped in an unwanted pregnancy, standing at a crossroad with no easy path to resolving the crisis.
These kind of stories, unfortunately, occur too often, although circumstances would be different, leaving abortion as a controversial option. The controversy revolving around whether it is moral or not, right or wrong? But, is it really that straight forward?
I would also like to draw your attention to few points of contention that bring forth the idiosyncrasies of this debatable issue.
Religiously, most abortions are condemned and treated as crime and sin. But the same religious ban on abortion is sometimes overruled by the cultural preference for sons leading to aborting a girl foetus as we see in this case also. Now how far is this justified?
Legally, a woman above a certain age cannot be forced to abort or has full right to abort within 20 weeks of pregnancy. It also considers killing of the foetus as unlawful with malice afore thought. What could be your views on family’s decision to abort or not to abort from the legal point of view?
Talking of rights, there seems to be some clarity from a woman’s point of view. Naina being aware of this is telling Govind, “As a woman I have the right to my own body, decide for myself. It is not my duty to be pregnant against my will. I know it’s going to affect my life drastically”.
Although, a strong voice in Naina is pushing towards abortion, yet a silent one is supporting rights of the tiny baby in her. What right I have to take away another life to satisfy my wishes. She may not be able to say anything but thinking what is my fault in all this, wanting to see the light of day someday!
Govind, on the other hand struggling with his own issues, seems to be questioning as to why all discussions revolve around rights of the mother and unborn child. What about his rights to want something and decide what could be good for his family?
Nehama Dresner, a psychologist, says in most such situations, a family, more so a woman faces a myriad of challenges—personal, relational and social. Her own ability and desire to parent, the impact of a child on her current life circumstances and relationships, the interest and capacity of her partner to be a parent, and the social and occupational context in which the pregnancy occurs are all critical considerations.
So with all this, will it be really possible to see abortion, one’s rights, related decisions as plain black and white?
Don’t you think someone’s right is going to be trampled in any case? Whose rights are you going to support?
Who is going to decide whether it is morally permissible or not? The mother, father, family or society?
In fact, who would define or what would be morality in these cases?