Couple of days back, a friend called me up with a peculiar request.
My friend runs a small dispensary in a remote part of the country. One of her friends came with a young girl to her clinic few days back. The girl was pregnant, but not married.
According to this lady, the girl was sent to her by one of her relatives from a remote village. The girl had become pregnant after being raped by her school teacher. The school teacher is a revered man in the area and nobody would believe her story.
As is the case in a rural remote part of the country, the girl's parents are concerned that the girl's future would be ruined if the matter is raised in a legal/public forum. The girl’s family wanted to settle the issue quietly.
Someone suggested that she goes somewhere far away and deliver the baby. And that was when the family who was known to my doctor friend got into the picture. They plan to adopt the baby as soon as the girl delivers.
My friend is concerned about the ethics and legality of the issue. She feels concerned that a rape has happened and the offender has been left unpunished. She is also concerned that her family friend and the biological mother of their baby would know each other, and also about what happens if the girl refuses to part with the baby once she delivers. And mainly, the legal status of such an adoption.
When the doctor confided about her concerns to her friend, she replied that she was also quite ignorant of these aspects. She has asked my friend to give the best advice.
Would an agreement between the childless family and the pregnant girl be valid if it states that the family would look after the girl provided the girl gives the baby to the family once she delivers? And what happens about the issue of rape? As responsible citizens of the country, can one close our eyes to the injustice that has happened to this girl?
The girl is only 16 years old and she is around 30 weeks pregnant. Should the doctor advice her friend to leave the girl back to her village? Should she advice her to take the girl to a place where she can deliver and put up the baby for adoption? Or can her friend continue with how things have been planned.
Looking forward for your comments and advice . . .