Dead baby found in swimming area

A police officer swimming in the track area on thew south side of Male’ this afternoon discovered the corpse of a premature baby underwater.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed to Minivan News that a dead female baby was found in the track swimming area.

”The baby has now been taken to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) for examinations,” Shiyam said. ”We can’t confirm how old the baby is.”

IGMH spokesperson Zeentha Ali said doctors were currently examining the body and that the hospital would comment once the examination was complete.

Local media SunFM reported that the baby was bleeding when it was taken out of the water and that the umbilical cord was still attached. Haveeru published a picture of infant which appeared to have been put in a plastic bag.

In November last year another abandoned newborn female baby was discovered alive in some bushes near the Wataniya telecommunications tower in Hulhumale’.

As a Muslim country, abortion is illegal in the Maldives except to save a mother’s life, or if a child suffers from a congenital defect such as thalassemia. But anecdotal evidence points overwhelmingly to a high rate of abortion.

Examining the subject in late 2009, Minivan News referred to a 2007 report from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) that concluded that widespread premarital and extramarital sex, high rates of divorce and remarriage (including sex between marriages), and poor access and practice of contraception could lead to a high number of unwanted pregnancies in the country.

The IPPF interviewed four demographically-diverse focus groups, and revealed that induced abortions were common among women and girls in Male’ with most ostensibly taking place in unsafe circumstances.

All four groups said that despite being illegal, sex outside of marriage was commonplace, especially among young people. Nor was it uncommon for married men to have affairs with unmarried girls.

The report found that the stigma of having a child out of wedlock compels women and girls to opt for abortions. Two focus groups of unmarried boys and girls asserted that abortion was widespread. Some said they knew of girls as young as 12 who had undergone abortions and each knew at least one person who had terminated a pregnancy.

However the IPPF never obtained government permission to formally carry out a wider study because of the qualitative nature of its research, and its findings were never acknowledged or made public.