Indian doctor fights landmark case to highlight girl deficit
Indian doctor alleges husband tricked her into having ultrasound to reveal sex of her children
An Indian paediatrician who has accused her husband of tricking her into revealing the sex of her unborn girl twins and then allegedly pressurising her into aborting them is waging a landmark legal battle over the case at India’s high court.
Mitu Khurana, a 39-year old doctor from Delhi, refused to abort the two girls and has become a cause celebre for campaigners against sex-selective abortions that have reached “emergency” levels in parts of India.
In the first case of its kind, Dr Khurana is taking legal action against her husband who she claims asked doctors to take a surreptitious ultra-sound of her unborn twins while she was in hospital in 2004 suffering from a stomach complaint.
“If, despite all the evidence I have, the accused are allowed to escape then no other women will ever try to prosecute for this type of crime,” Mrs Khurana told The Sunday Telegraph.
“Ultrasounds in India always happen behind closed doors because every doctor knows it’s a crime and will never give the results in writing. If I lose this case it will close the door to any women who want to file complaints in the future”.
Her husband, Dr Kamal Khurana, has vehemently denied the allegations which are the first of their kind to be brought under a law that prohibits the gender testing of foetuses which was introduced in 1994 to curb the endemic practice of aborting girls.
The preference for boys over girls in India for both economic and social reasons has led to dangerously skewed gender ratios, with one study estimating that some 12 million Indian girls had been aborted over the last 30 years.
Last year the United Nations noted that the dwindling number of Indian girls had reached “emergency proportions” and was contributing to violent sex crimes against women.
An organization in Delhi recently investigated 89 hospitals around the capital and unveiled giant sex discrepancies in birth rates. One clinic was found to have delivered just 285 girls for every 1,000 boys over the last year.
Mrs Khurana’s case, which was recently thrown out by a lower court due to lack of evidence, implicates her husband, Kamal, and the Jaipur Golden Hospital.
According to the court papers, Mrs Khurana alleges she was taken to hospital after having an allergic reaction to some food.