India court orders Dehli government to provide shelters for destitute pregnant women so that they can receive care while giving birth

by Nilanjana Bhowmick

n January, Shanti Devi, a woman living below the poverty line, died after giving birth to a premature baby. She had not eaten for three days before her delivery. A few months later, Fatima, 24, a destitute woman who suffered from epilepsy, was forced to give birth under a tree on a crowded street in New Delhi. Her mother took her to a local government maternity home but they were turned away. Laxmi, another destitute, homeless woman gave birth and died on the streets of India’s capital city in July. She was helped by another homeless woman. For four days Laxmi lay on the streets with her new born baby, then died of septicemia.