Mother of rescued China’s baby could not afford abortion

The videos and pictures of the rescue of a newborn baby stuck in a sewerage pipe in China evoked many sentiments.

Last Updated: May 29, 2013, 14:25 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Beijing: The videos and pictures of the rescue of a newborn baby stuck in a sewerage pipe in China evoked many sentiments, but the mother of the toddler maintained a stoic silence and chose not to disclose her identity during the freezing ordeal.

Albeit she had raised the initial alarm and was also present during the two-hour rescue, yet had reportedly not confessed to giving birth until confronted by police.

According to the state-run, Hangzhou-based newspaper Dushikuaibao, baby toys and blood-stained toilet paper at the rented room of the lady raised question marks. The 22-year-old woman’s rented room is in the building where Saturday’s rescue occurred in eastern China.

When grilled, the woman told police she could not afford an abortion and secretly delivered the child on Saturday afternoon in the toilet. She said she tried to catch the baby but he slipped into the sewer line and that she alerted her landlord of the trapped baby after she could not pull the child out, the state-run, Jinhua-based Zhezhong News said.

Video of the rescue of Baby No 59 — so named because of his incubator number in the hospital — was shown on Chinese news programs and websites starting late Monday and picked up worldwide, prompting both horror and an outpouring of charity on behalf of the newborn. The mother’s reported confession raises questions about whether she intended to abandon the baby, while suggesting that she was desperate and did not know what to do.

Zhezhong News said the woman is a high school graduate who works at a restaurant in the Zhejiang province city of Jinhua. She said she became pregnant after a one-night stand with a man who later denied any responsibility. The woman did not reveal the pregnancy to her parents. She also said she wanted to raise the child but had no idea how to do it, according to local reports.

Firefighters were called to the residential building in the Pujiang area of Jinhua to rescue the baby, which was trapped in the L-joint of a sewage pipe just below a squat toilet in one of the building’s public restrooms.

In the video, officials were shown removing the pipe from a ceiling that apparently was just below the restroom and then, at the hospital, using pliers and saws to gently pull apart the pipe, which was about 10 centimetres (about 3 inches) in diameter.

The baby, who weighed 2.8 kilograms (6 pounds, 2.8 ounces), had a low heart rate and some minor abrasions on his head and limbs, but was mostly unhurt, according to local reports. The placenta was still attached.

Police initially said they were treating the case of as possible attempted homicide, but it was not immediately clear whether the mother would face criminal charges.

(With Agency inputs)