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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Louisiana judge orders state to recognize gay ‘marriage’

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By Kirsten Anderson

A Louisiana judge on Monday ordered state officials to recognize the out-of-state “marriage” of a lesbian couple and allow one of the women to legally adopt her partner’s child.

Angie Costanza and Christy Brewer were “married” in 2008 in California, but Louisiana’s marriage protection amendment, passed by 78 percent of voters in 2004, prevented the state from recognizing the couple’s union.  The pair sued in 2013 to overturn the law, in part because Costanza wanted to be listed as a parent on Brewer’s son’s birth certificate. 

Initially, Judge Edward Broussard dismissed the case without a hearing, but the couple appealed.  On Monday, Judge Edward Rubin took their side, ruling that Louisiana’s marriage protection law is unconstitutional in three ways:  According to Rubin, the ban on same-sex “marriage” violates the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, as well as the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment.

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Rubin’s decision comes just weeks after U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman declared Louisiana’s marriage protection law constitutional – the first federal judge to decide in favor of a same-sex “marriage” ban since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year. “There is simply no fundamental right, historically or traditionally, to same-sex marriage,” Feldman wrote in his decision. 

However, because this case is being tried in the state courts, Rubin’s decision will take precedence over Feldman’s, pending appeal.

The state plans to appeal Rubin’s ruling to the state Supreme Court.  Meanwhile, the federal case is also moving forward.  Ultimately, it is expected that the question of whether statewide bans on same-sex “marriage” are constitutional will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court sometime in 2015. 

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New archbishops in Chicago and Madrid: Ratzingerians out, ‘inclusiveness’ in

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Chicago's Archbishop-elect, Blase Cupich

Pope Francis announced Saturday that he is appointing as archbishop of Chicago a prelate best known in pro-life circles as the man who ordered his priests in 2011 not to participate in local 40 Days for Life prayer vigils. The media and Church watchers describe him as “progressive,” “inclusive,” and “left-of-center.”

The appointment of Bishop Blase Cupich, current head of the Spokane diocese in Washington, to America’s third most prominent see – an appointment which Vatican watchers predicted would signal the pope’s priorities for the direction of the U.S. Church – has been widely praised by liberal Catholics and opponents of Church teaching but met with concern by many Catholic activists.

The archbishop-elect gave a sense of his approach to the U.S. “culture war” in an interview Sunday with Chicago’s CBS affiliate, in which he suggested he would be open to giving Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians and a person wearing a button in favour of same-sex “marriage.”

“As long as they’re in church, are willing to hear the word of God, be open to Christ’s call of conversion for each one of us, then I think that that’s sufficient for me,” he said. “We cannot politicize the Communion rail and I just don’t think that that works in the long run.”

Cupich will replace the ailing Cardinal Francis George, known in the US as a “Ratzingerian” for his strong defense of Catholic orthodoxy, particularly on issues of sexual morality, but who is suffering from cancer and is overdue for retirement at age 77. The archbishop of Chicago is also normally granted the “red hat” and made a cardinal, which would make Cupich eligible to vote in upcoming papal conclaves. Cupich is scheduled to be installed in Chicago November 18.

The Chicago appointment mirrors that of another outside the US in recent weeks. Rome announced August 28 that Carlos Osoro Sierra, 69, will be installed as the new archbishop of Madrid, Spain’s capital city and largest archdiocese. But the story in Madrid has less to do with the new appointee and more to do with the would-be appointee who was demoted.

Until just before the appointment, most Vatican watchers expected the prominent post to be given to 68-year-old Vatican Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, dubbed the “little Ratzinger” for his orthodoxy in line with Pope Benedict XVI.  When LifeSiteNews interviewed Cardinal Cañizares in 2009 at the time of his appointment as prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, he noted that denying communion to pro-abortion politicians was a charitable act.

Leaving his Vatican post, he was considered a natural for the Madrid spot. But instead it went to the archbishop of Valencia, and Cañizares is to fill that vacancy instead.

The former archbishop of Valencia is known for his strong “liberal” leanings and he will be replacing Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, 78, who, like Cañizares, is also known for following the lead of the retired Pope Benedict XVI.

El Pais wrote of the new appointee that Catholics of the Madrid archdiocese, accustomed to the “hieratic” Varela, will be seeing “an entirely different model.”

“Shortly after the announcement of his appointment, the most repeated words to define his figure were ‘dialogue’ and ‘moderation.’”

“During the 12 years he has been the head of the Catholic Church [in Madrid], Rouco Varela has too often mixed faith and politics, with an overdose of intransigence. Defending the (exclusively traditional) family and attacking laws that recognize the right of women to abortion are the main workhorses.”

Catholic News Agency’s Vatican-watcher, Andrea Gagliarducci, wrote that the appointment marks a “new course for Spain’s bishops.” He is described in the Spanish press as “affable,” “friendly,” and “extremely gregarious.” 

As for Cupich, David Gibson of Religion News Service described him as “a prelate closely identified with the Catholic Church’s progressive wing.”

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Vatican watcher Rocco Palmo, author of the “Whispers in the Loggia” blog, wrote that the appointment is “the most shocking major move the American hierarchy has seen in the last decade and a half.” Another Vatican veteran, John Allen Jr., wrote for the US Catholic online magazine Crux that Cupich so closely mirrors Pope Francis’ theology and style that he could be called the “American Pope Francis in Chicago.”

On his blog, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, known for his icy relations with the pro-life movement, shared his excitement over the “new breeze” brought by Cupich’s appointment. The bishop noted that Cupich “admires deeply the ecclesiology and vision” of leftist prelates such as former San Francisco Archbishop John Quinn and former Galveston-Houston Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza.

The news of Cupich’s appointment was met with praise in the mainstream press. According to The New York Times Francis has “set the tone” for US appointments by “replacing a combative conservative with a prelate whose pastoral approach to upholding church doctrine is more in keeping with the pope’s inclusive tone.”

It has also been praised by dissident Catholic groups such as the homosexual activist group New Ways Ministries. Last year, the group issued a roundup of evaluations of the various leading members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops who were set to elect a new president. New Ways praised Cupich for his intervention in the 2012 debate leading up to a referendum on “gay marriage” in Washington State. Cupich’s only intervention was a pastoral letter in which he asked voters to uphold traditional marriage, but also called for a “more civil and honest conversation about Catholic positions on equality.”

“I also want to be very clear that in stating our position, the Catholic Church has no tolerance for the misuse of this moment to incite hostility toward homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity,” Cupich wrote.

Cupich stood out from his fellow US bishops in his response to the abortion-funding Obamacare. Though he joined his other bishops in condemning the Obama administration’s mandate that Catholic employers cover abortifacients and contraceptives, he encouraged Catholic Charities in his diocese to act as an Obamacare navigator and help people sign up for coverage that could fund the destruction of unborn life.

He also condemned the line of other US bishops when they threatened to shut down Catholic social services. “These kind of scare tactics and worse-case scenario predictions are uncalled for,” Cupich wrote in a letter to diocesan employees. “I am confident we can find a way to move forward.”

Today the anti-Catholic organization Call to Action issued a press release saying they are “relieved” at the appointment. “At a time when numerous U.S. Bishops are choosing to fight ideological battles, Pope Francis’ selection of Cupich demonstrates a desire for a humbler, more pastoral church.”  

Call to Action, like New Ways Ministries, works to overturn Catholic doctrine, particularly on sexual matters, from within the Church, and has received the censure of the US bishops for their activities. They wrote, “The choice of Cupich shows promise for a church which can be closer to the people. Catholics in Chicago and beyond yearn for a faith rooted in the Gospel call of love and justice over rigid orthodoxy.”

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Rick Perry: Joan Rivers’ death shows Texas is right to require abortionists to have admitting privileges

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By Kirsten Anderson

In the wake of the high-profile death of comedienne Joan Rivers due to complications from throat surgery at an outpatient clinic in New York City, Texas Gov. Rick Perry pointed to the tragedy as an example showing the necessity for his state’s one-year-old law requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers.

"It was interesting that when Joan Rivers -- and the procedure that she had done, where she died -- that was a clinic,” Perry said at a Texas Tribune event on Sunday. “It's a curious thought that if they had had that type of regulations in place, whether or not that individual would be still alive.”

Many observers have criticized the governor’s remarks, noting that Rivers’ surgery was performed in a fully licensed ambulatory surgical center by a doctor with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, as is the current standard for abortion facilities in Texas, but died anyway.  However, the painstaking investigation into what may have gone wrong at the New York City clinic reveals that while all surgery carries risks, ambulatory surgical centers are required to take every precaution to ensure the safety of their patients, in contrast to more loosely regulated abortion clinics, where injuries and deaths are rampant, and often covered up.

While 32 separate medical associations have signed a joint agreement stating that anyone “performing office-based surgery must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a transfer agreement with another physician who has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, or maintain an emergency transfer agreement with a nearby hospital,” abortion businesses have fought such regulations tooth and nail, arguing that requiring abortionists to maintain admitting privileges is too burdensome and will cause clinics to close their doors.  

Abortionists have also opposed tougher safety restrictions forcing them to adhere to the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers, arguing that upgrading their substandard facilities to meet hospital-grade requirements is costly and unnecessary.  But proponents of such regulations point out that the tiny parking lots, narrow hallways, and lack of elevators common to most abortion facilities are serious impediments to getting lifesaving help to women in case of emergencies, delaying paramedics who can’t park their ambulances or maneuver gurneys through such buildings.  In addition, licensed ambulatory surgical centers must have and properly maintain state-of-the-art resuscitation equipment, and train employees in their use – something abortion clinics have repeatedly been cited for failing to do.

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