Dr Mitu Khurana is a mother who fought to prevent her twin daughters from being aborted and for their right to be accepted as valued individuals.
Gender testing in India is illegal by law under the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act of 1994. Despite this, an estimated half-a-million female foetuses are terminated each year. This is mass extermination of girls, leading to a massive gap in female births per 1000 births – so many missing women! This has given rise to concerns about the negative impact this has on Indian society. There are a number of villages in India where there are no women at all. And men from these villages are resorting to desperate measures like ‘importing brides’ from the other states in the country.
A country that on one hand believes in ‘Kanya Puja‘, doesn’t even cringe when they kill their own daughters on the other. Some might argue that this ‘desire’ for a male heir is endemic in the low income groups. However, it is alarming to know that this ‘mass murder’ of girls is not cloistered to the lower class only. In fact this culture of female foeticide is more rampant within the so called educated and upper middle class society who can be safely written off as the ‘privileged class’.
Dr Mitu Khurana, is one such woman from the ‘privileged class’, a mother and a paediatrician herself who is making legal history. She took her husband to court for illegally procuring a gender test during her pregnancy and subsequently pressurizing her to have the twin foetuses aborted.
Her story is a shocking yet distressing proof that exposes the shameful prejudice that the Indian society has against female children; a culture that permeates all levels of the Indian society. This case is also a classic testimony to the great love that a mother has for her children and how she can rise above her own fears to protect them.
The torture on Dr Mitu Khurana started right from the very first day of her marriage. The torture worsened as the family learnt that she was carrying twins saying they couldn’t afford to raise two children at a time. The bid for knowing the gender of the foetuses crept in and the pressure on Dr Mitu increased considerably day by day.
As this mother refused to give in to the demands, the in-laws resorted to more devious means to find out the sex of the foetuses. On the pretext of getting a kidney scan, the gender of the foetuses was determined. The news of having female foetuses was like the final nail in the coffin of the marriage.