Peter Baklinski

Pressured to abort twin daughters, woman fights India’s sex-selective abortion epidemic

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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NEW DELHI, India, December 14, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A woman who says she was pressured, even to the point of torture, by her husband and in-laws to abort her twin daughters, has taken her grievance to India’s legal system, filing a complaint against her relatives and giving a face to the victims of India’s epidemic of sex-selective abortions in the process.

“Female foeticide is a thriving industry in India,” writes Mitu Khurana, whose story has attracted widespread media attention, on her blog. “The practice is rampant. Private clinics with ultrasound machines and other latest technologies are doing brisk business, making a complete mockery of law. Everywhere, people are paying to know the sex of an unborn child and paying more to abort the female child. The technology has even reached remote areas through facilities like mobile clinics.”

When Mitu, 34, a pediatrician by trade, became pregnant with twins in January of 2005, she says her mother-in-law demanded that she undergo tests to determine the sex of the twins. However, Mitu refused to have the sex-indicator ultrasound, a practice that India prohibited in 1994 to try to curb the widespread cultural practice of female feticide.

Mitu’s refusal triggered a response from her husband and in-laws that she says amounted to torture. In an account of her trials on her blog, Mitu claims that, furious at her insubordination, her husband and in-laws denied her food and water, trying to break her will and force her to submit to the ultrasound. She still would not budge, however.

Her husband finally achieved his purpose through deception. Knowing that Mitu was allergic to eggs, he baked her a cake with eggs, assuring her that it was safe for her to eat. That night, Mitu reacted to the poisoned cake and was taken to the hospital the next morning. There her husband persuaded the gynecologist, without Mitu’s knowledge or consent, to perform a fetal ultrasound and to make it look like it was part of the assessment.

When Mitu was found to be pregnant with twin girls, both husband and in-laws pressured her to abort her babies.

“My mother-in-law even told me that my two daughters would be a big burden on the family and I should get them aborted,” she wrote on her blog. “If not both, she said get at least one aborted. When I refused she said at least give one of them for adoption.”

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Mitu says her husband began to completely ignore her, and demanded that she take a paternity test since he refused to believe that he could be the father of not one, but two daughters.

One night the enraged husband threw Mitu out of her own home, telling her to go live with her parents.

Mitu finally delivered two daughters in August, two months premature. Her in-laws begrudgingly visited her in the hospital nine days after the births.

For the sake of her daughters, the young mother says she tried her best to save her marriage, even attempting to return to her former life at home, but her efforts were unsuccessful.

“I had no help in looking after the children. There was no love or respect for the children or me. I was not even sure my children and I would be safe there.”

Mitu began to fear for her daughters’ lives, especially after allegedly witnessing her mother-in-law push her 4-month old baby down a staircase, which Mitu claims was deliberate, although her mother-in-law said it was an accident. Fortunately Mitu was able to reach out and save her baby from harm.

By March 2008 Mitu’s husband had abandoned his wife and daughters. He asked her for a “mutual consent divorce” telling her that he wanted to remarry and have sons.

In April of 2008, Mitu turned to the law, seeking justice for herself and her daughters. She filed a complaint to the Women’s Commissions and the health minister, but received no response.

Finally, she filed a complaint under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC-PNDT) accusing her husband of arranging her illegal ultrasound while she suffered the effects of the egg-poisoning in the hospital.

Her case finally received some governmental attention after it was highlighted by local media.

At a hearing with the District Appropriate Authority, Mitu says she felt slighted when she was told that the “law needs to be explored,” that she should try to reconcile with her husband, and that she could always get pregnant again and fulfill the wish of her husband for a son.

To this day, Mitu says she remains disappointed with the attitude of government authorities towards the plight of baby girls and their mothers’ who try to keep them safe. She believes that those who heard her case sided with the culprits.

“I filed the first police complaint during my pregnancy and have been filing since then. But, … the police have taken no solid step towards nabbing the culprits. Instead, they are taking sides with the offenders,” she said.

“My husband and in-laws were given a clean chit [official note]. I have been threatened many times and persuaded to withdraw the case and told to reconcile with them.”

“The judiciary should be sensitive and take a stand. It has been more than 14 years since the PCPNDT Act was implemented and the sex-ratio in our country is still falling,” she said.

Mitu’s public stand against the prevailing anti-girl values in Indian have now cost the young mother her job.

“Every authority, be it in the police, the judiciary, or the hospital where I was working, are trying to force me to withdraw my cases. It was due to this harassment and certain threats that I had to leave my job recently.”

Despite all the cultural forces that are against her, the young mother says she believes that her daughters and the daughters of India are worth fighting for.

“When my babies hadn’t even entered the world, their end was already being planned by my relatives who didn’t want girl children. They illegally obtained information about the sex of my babies while I was still pregnant and I was pressurized to have an abortion. I wasn’t going to give up without a fight.”

“I hope for a system that’s kinder to women and not just one that says it is,” said Mitu, adding that it is her “dearest dream to bring around the justice I’ve been seeking for my children as soon as possible.”

Mitu hopes that foreign pressure will wake up India’s government who she says “believes in speaking in front of media and harassing anybody who dares speak against them or the system.”

“Even if I can inspire one woman to fight for herself, I would be a proud woman,” she said.

Mitu Khurana is alleged to be the first woman in New Delhi to file a case against her husband and in-laws under India’s 1994 Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act. Delhi courts have yet to give her the justice she demands for herself and her daughters.

Contact the High Commission of India in Canada here.

Contact Embassy of India in USA here.

Contact India Government here.


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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkins’ statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

"It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities," Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. "Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

"While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born," she said. "Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection."

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, "People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society."

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the "difficult and confusing time" when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience "negative attitudes."

"What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information," the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the church they attend in New Jersey, "because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey , 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 


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President George Bush takes the ice bucket challenge in a video released this week.
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What’s wrong with the viral ‘ice bucket challenge’? A lot, say pro-life leaders

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By Dustin Siggins

Pro-life leaders in the U.S. are warning about ethical problems with the viral "Ice Bucket Challenge" that has raised over $15 million for research into Lou Gehrig’s Disease since late July, making its way to the top of American politics, and the entertainment and business worlds in the process.

In recent days, former president George W. Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, TV hosts Oprah Winfrey and Jimmy Fallon, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have all had ice-cold water dumped on their heads in support of the effort.

They have been joined by many thousands of everyday Americans eager to do their part to raise funds to find a cure for the fatal neurodegenerative disease.

However, pro-life leaders from Patheos blogger Father Michael Duffy to the American Life League (ALL) are all pointing out that the ALS Association, which is behind the wildly popular fundraising effort, funds and otherwise supports embryonic stem cell research.

Instead, they are urging that pro-life people who want to participate in the ice bucket challenge send their donations to other charities that don't have similar ethical issues.

Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of an unborn child. This is unlike adult and umbilical cord stem cell research, which are considered ethical.

A spokesperson from the ALS Association admitted to American Life League in an e-mail that while the organization "primarily funds adult stem cell research," they are "funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC)..."

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"It is noble to combat a deadly disease,” Live Action president Lila Rose said in a statement provided to LifeSiteNews, but added that “it's such a shame that the ALS Association...chooses to support research that thrives from experimenting on and killing tiny, innocent human beings."

"Embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of pre-born people, is inherently unethical and a violation of fundamental human rights, and even materialists must admit that promises of its benefits have failed to deliver," continued Rose. "There is no good reason to condone this practice; in fact, all it does is taint the ALS Association, whom I'd otherwise be happy to support."

In the e-mail to American Life League, ALS Assocation Spokesperson Carrie Munk defended the organization, saying that the embryonic stem cell research is being funded by an outside donor, and "the stem cell line was established many years ago."

She added that "under very strict guidelines, The Association may fund embryonic stem cell research in the future," and that currently "donors may stipulate that their funds not be invested in this study or any stem cell project."

At least one Catholic archdiocese has spoken up about the problematic relationship between ALS Assocation and unethical research.

"We appreciate the compassion that has caused so many people to engage in” the ice bucket challenge,” said a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. “But it's a well established moral principle that a good end is not enough. The means to that ends must be morally licit."

Both Fr. Duffy and the archdiocese have recommended money be sent to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa. It is an organization that exclusively researches with adult stem cells. 

One D.C.-area Catholic, Robert Vega, wrote on Facebook that "in light of the absolute dignity of human life and necessity to defend it...I have taken down my Ice Bucket video, untagged myself from my nomination video, and encourage anyone to whom I may have spread the Challenge to do the same."

Embryonic stem cell research, which was a major controversy throughout the presidency of George W. Bush, has quietly, although decidedly, become less popular after many of the exalted promises of its proponents failed to materialize. As LifeSiteNews reported, in 2012 California and Maryland funded a fraction of the embryonic stem cell research projects that they did in 2007. Likewise, Maryland funded nearly twice as many stem cell research projects in 2012 as it had in the prior year -- but only one of the grants was done for an embryonic research project.


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Catholic couple fined $13,000 for refusing to host same-sex ‘wedding’ at their farm

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By Kirsten Anderson
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Robert and Cynthia Gifford

The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) has ruled that the Roman Catholic owners of an Albany-area farm violated the civil rights of a lesbian couple when they declined to host the couple’s same-sex “marriage” ceremony in 2012.

Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who own and operate Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, were ordered by DHR Judge Migdalia Pares and Commissioner Helen Diane Foster to pay $10,000 in fines to the state and an additional $3,000 in damages to the lesbian couple, Jennie McCarthy and Melissa Erwin for “mental pain and suffering.” 

Additionally, the Giffords must provide sensitivity training to their staff, and prominently display a poster highlighting state anti-discrimination laws.

The Giffords’ attorney, Jim Trainor, told LifeSiteNews that the two-year-legal drama and resulting fines all stemmed from a single brief phone call in 2012 that caught his clients off guard.

“The entire interaction between the Complainants and the Giffords transpired during a two to three minute telephone conversation which, unknown to Mrs. Gifford, was being tape recorded,” Trainor said.

“After communicating the fact that they chose not to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies at the farm because to do so would violate the Giffords’ sincerely held beliefs (that God intended marriage to be between a man a woman only), Mrs. Gifford invited the couple to visit the farm to discuss handling their wedding reception, which the couple refused.” 

The Giffords draw a line, Trainor explained, between a ceremony that solemnizes a homosexual relationship and a reception that celebrates the union after the fact.  To participate in the former, they argue, would be a violation of their own religious beliefs, especially because marriage ceremonies on the farm typically take place in and around the couple’s home, where they live full-time and are raising their two children. 

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But the Giffords are willing to serve gay couples in other ways – for example, they allowed another lesbian couple to throw a birthday party for their adopted child on the farm.

Trainor said he believes the decision by DHR goes too far in that it seeks to regulate what the Giffords can or cannot do in their own private home, even though state law only requires “places of public accommodation” to adhere to anti-discrimination laws.

“They consider the farm their home,” Trainor said. “They live there, they work there, they raise their kids there.”

Trainor also said that the Judge and Commissioner should have taken into account the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling, which came down weeks before the DHR notified the Giffords of their decision.

“We're disappointed that neither the Administrative Law Judge nor the Commissioner considered the Gifford's Constitutional (1st Amendment) rights, including the right not to be compelled to participate in a ‘marriage’ ceremony which violates their own religious beliefs,” Trainor said. 

Trainor said he and the Giffords are evaluating their options for further legal action.

The Giffords could simply ask the DHR to reconsider their decision, but Trainor said he doubts that approach would be successful. In order to formally appeal the ruling the couple would have to go to the New York State Supreme Court. 

But there is another option: The Giffords could file a fresh lawsuit in either state or federal court challenging the constitutionality of the DHR ruling.

While religious liberty has been a hot topic in federal court lately, Trainor said New York’s state constitution “actually offers a lot” of protection when it comes to religious freedom. “Many people view it as more expansive than the U.S. Constitution in terms of religious freedoms.”

However, Trainor emphasized that the Giffords have not yet decided which avenue, if any, they are planning to take in terms of pursuing further legal action.

In the meantime, the Giffords will continue hosting wedding ceremonies and receptions at the farm, Trainor said. However, they are considering hiring a dedicated employee to handle the ceremonies in order to avoid having to directly participate in any future same-sex “weddings.”


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