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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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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