JAKARTA, Indonesia – A janitor found a heartbreaking surprise as he cleaned a Qatar Airways plane: a dead newborn inside the aircraft’s toilet.
Police in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta are investigating the incident, after the janitor reported the discovery of the baby’s dead body.
It is unclear whether the woman gave birth on board the flight or if the body of the baby was somehow brought on board.
“The baby was found dead yesterday afternoon. We are still conducting an investigation related to this case,” Airport Police Public Relations Head Sutrisna, who like many Indonesians go by one name, told local media on Monday, October 10.
Qatar Airways flight 596 landed in Jakarta, from Doha, Qatar. An Indonesian migrant worker is the suspected mother of the child, whom Sutrisna said “will be questioned after she has recovered.”
The woman is currently in a hospital, said police. It is unknown whether the newborn was forced out or if she gave birth naturally, although inital investigation showed that the baby was premature, and just 5-7 months old.
Sutrisna added, “We are still investigating her motive. If she indeed gave birth on the plane why didn’t she report it or ask for help at the time?”
In Indonesia, abortion is illegal except to save the life of a woman. In some cases of rape or of fetus abormality, it is also allowed up to 6 weeks. But this does not prevent women from having abortions or seeking unsafe options. (READ: What I wished I’d known before my abortion)
The situation is especially difficult for unmarried women, who face stigma and shame upon entering clinics that perform abortions. Many clinics and doctors choose not to see unmarried women.
Rights groups have called for the Indonesian government to amend abortion laws. (READ: ‘Illegal, but they’re everywhere’: How women help other women get abortions)
“Abortion should not be outlawed. Women’s bodies should not be a topic for politicians or public consumption. It should not only be legal in Indonesia but also in other countries. Abortion is about women’s autonomy. We cannot reach equality without women’s body autonomy,” Inna Hudaya, a women’s rights activist, told Rappler. – Rappler.com