Father of five girls cuts wife’s stomach resulting in stillbirth of baby

A father to five girls may have caused the death of his preborn son after he allegedly cut open the belly of his wife to find out if she was expecting a boy.

The mother was in a critical condition when she was taken to a hospital in India’s capital, Delhi, where doctors fought to save her life and that of her unborn child.

Following medical intervention, the mother is reportedly in a stable condition.

However, during the ordeal, she sadly gave birth to a stillborn boy.

It is believed the 35-year-old, known locally as Anita Devi, was seven months pregnant at the time of the attack.

Her family have accused her husband, named only as Pannalal, of attacking his spouse because he wanted to find out the baby’s gender.

Her sister told BBC Hindi that the couple used to fight regularly over having a son before she was attacked.

Ms Devi’s brother agreed, telling the Times of India: “My brother-in-law often used to beat my sister for giving birth to five daughters. Our parents had intervened on several occasions. But no one imagined that he would take such a cruel step.”

“When I reached there, I saw blood everywhere. Anita’s stomach was slit, and she told me that her husband did this.”

Police have arrested Pannalal on charges of attempted murder, but the 43-year-old denies the charges and claims he didn’t intentionally hurt his wife.

He told local media that he threw a sickle at his wife during an argument, but claims he had no idea that she would be injured so gravely.

A police investigation is ongoing.

Millions of lives lost

Despite outlawing sex-selective abortion and pre-natal sex detection in 1994, sex-selective abortion and infanticide remain common practice in India due to the cultural preference for male children.

New research indicates the lives of almost 5 million baby girls in India will be lost over the next decade due to the prevalent use of sex-selective abortions.

A recent report from India’s Government also found an estimated 63 million women were “missing” from the country’s population.

Census data from 2011 showed there were 919 girls to every 1,000 boys for children up to the age of six. In some northern states that ratio was as low as 830, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The World Health Organization says the natural sex ratio at birth is about 105 boys to every 100 girls.

An investigation was launched in a district of northern India last year after government data revealed none of the 216 children born across 132 villages over three months were girls. 

‘National shame’

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh has described female foeticide and infanticide as a “national shame” and called for a “crusade” to save girls.

Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also advised Indians “not to hanker after sons” and not “kill the daughters in the hope of a boy”.

Five years ago, he launched Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save daughter, educate daughter) – a campaign seeking to save girls.

Sex-selective abortions in India could lead to the abortion of 5 million girls over the next decade

The lives of almost 5 million baby girls in India will be lost over the next decade due to the prevalent use of sex-selective abortions, according to new research.

Academics at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia estimate the average annual number of “missing female births” will be 469,000 from 2017 to 2025 and 519,000 from 2026 to 2030, resulting in around 6.8 million lives lost.

Over the next decade, between 2020 and 2030, this would mean the lives of 4,890,000 baby girls would be lost to abortion – an average of more than 1,338 every day.

Anuradha Saxena, a member of the women’s empowerment division for Sikar district, in Rajasthan, told the Guardian that the figures came as no surprise to her. 

“It will take time to remove deep-rooted custom and belief. Progress is slow and incremental but we are working on making girls valued and cherished instead of being seen as a liability who needs a huge dowry to be married off,” she said.

Fengqing Chao and her team modelled the sex ratio at birth across 98% of India’s population, along with fertility rates and national survey data on people’s preferences to have a son or daughter.

The model predicted that there would be 6.8 million “missing female births” across India between 2017 and 2030. The prediction started with 2017 as this is the year after the most recent birth data was published.

India’s missing female births over the next 10 years could have a significant impact on the global sex ratio, since the UN predicts that India will overtake China to become the world’s most populous country in that time period.

‘No girl born in three months’

Despite outlawing sex-selective abortion and pre-natal sex detection in 1994, sex-selective abortion and infanticide remain common practice due to the cultural preference for male children.

A recent report from India’s Government also found an estimated 63 million women were “missing” from the country’s population.

Census data from 2011 showed there were 919 girls to every 1,000 boys for children up to the age of six. In some northern states that ratio was as low as 830, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The World Health Organization says the natural sex ratio at birth is about 105 boys to every 100 girls.

Last year, it was revealed out of 216 births across dozens of villages in northern India, over a 3 month period, not a single girl was born.

Social worker Kalpana Thakur said at the time that the authorities were not doing enough.

“No girl child was born for three months in these villages. It cannot be just a coincidence. This clearly indicates female foeticide is taking place in the district. The government and the administration are not doing anything.”

Sex-selective abortion: A worldwide problem

Sex-selective abortion is a well-documented problem in countries around the world, resulting in highly skewed sex ratios.

Since amending its abortion law in 1998, sex-selective abortions have become a major issue in Canada.

An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal describes how “easy access to abortion and advances in prenatal sex determination have combined to make Canada a haven for parents who would terminate female fetuses in favour of having sons…”.

Similarly, evidence of sex-selective abortions has been found in the Australian territory of Victoria, which introduced abortion on request in 2008.

Following the law change in Victoria, Dr Mark Hobart was investigated by the Medical Board of Victoria for failing to refer a woman for a sex-selective abortion. Additionally, an investigation by Australian broadcaster SBS found higher numbers of boys than girls being born in some ethnic communities in Australia.

A recent study from La Trobe University, analysing more than a million births in Victoria, suggests some parents could be aborting unborn female babies in order to have a son.

In the UK, shadow Minister Naz Shah has previously called for the Government to stop the misuse of Non-invasive Prenatal Test (NiPT) after evidence emerged they were being used to abort pregnancies based on gender.

The Labour MP said: “The government needs to look into this exploitative practice and enforce appropriate restrictions.”

However, Ms Shah is presumably okay with disability-selective abortions as she also said: “NIPT screenings should be used for their intended purpose, to screen for serious conditions and Down’s syndrome.”

Polling, conducted by Savanta ComRes, showed 89% of the general population and 91% of women agree that gender-selective abortion should be explicitly banned by the law.

Woman dies from dangerous ‘DIY’ abortion

A woman has died along with her unborn baby after taking ‘DIY’ home abortion drugs.

The unnamed woman suffered from excessive bleeding after taking abortion pills, a medical examination has revealed.

Police in the Indian region of Kashimira were called to the family home of the woman, earlier this month, where they discovered bloodstained bedsheets and abortion drugs.

Initially, police reported the death of the woman, who is survived by an 18-month-old daughter, as “accidental” but have now opened an investigation into her death.

According to the Mumbai Mirror, the woman’s husband, with the help of his parents and a friend, obtained abortion drugs from a medical representative.

The husband, his parents and friend are now among six people who have been “booked”, but not arrested, under the Indian Penal Code and Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. One of the sections applied deals with “an act done with intent to cause miscarriage”.

Ask your local MP, AM or MSP to revoke the dangerous ‘DIY’ abortion decision!

‘DIY’ home abortions are now temporarily allowed across the UK following an incredible double U-turn from the Government, which went against its own warnings.

The Government had initially stated its intention to allow ‘DIY’ abortions on 23 March, but backtracked later that day claiming the announcement had been “published in error.”

A Government webpage that had published the changes had the following message for visitors: “The information on this page has been removed because it was published in error. This was published in error. There will be no changes to abortion regulations.”

Just one day later, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock reassured the House of Commons that there would be no change to any abortion laws in response to COVID-19.

Additionally, Health Minister Lord Bethell made it very clear that there were significant safety and safeguarding issues for women and young girls with the proposal. 

As the Coronavirus Bill was brought to the House of Lords on Wednesday 25 March Lord Bethell rejected strongly on behalf of the government the proposed changes to abortion law, stating: “….we do not agree that women should be able to take both treatments for medical abortion at home. We believe that it is an essential safeguard that a woman attends a clinic, to ensure that she has an opportunity to be seen alone and to ensure that there are no issues.

“Do we really want to support an amendment that could remove the only opportunity many women have, often at a most vulnerable stage, to speak confidentially and one-to-one with a doctor about their concerns on abortion and about what the alternatives might be? The bottom line is that, if there is an abusive relationship and no legal requirement for a doctor’s involvement, it is far more likely that a vulnerable woman could be pressured into have an abortion by an abusive partner.”

He also made it clear that it would be inappropriate to make this change without parliamentary scrutiny: “It is not right to rush through this type of change in a sensitive area such as abortion without adequate parliamentary scrutiny.”

In an incredible double U-turn, the Government went against their own warnings by officially announcing they would allow ‘DIY’ abortions.

Despite these warnings, the UK Government announced in March that it would allow telemedicine abortions, where ‘DIY’ abortions would be performed at home by women on themselves without a doctor or other medical professional present.

The very substantial temporary change is the biggest change to abortion legislation since the 1967 Abortion Act, yet it was made without any public consultation, parliamentary scrutiny or debate.

Under the new temporary policy, doctors will be able to prescribe mifepristone and misoprostol over the phone or video platforms such as Facetime or Skype, meaning they will be left to pass their unborn child at home without direct medical supervision.

Before the change, abortions could only take place in hospitals or abortion clinics approved by the Secretary of State. 

A legal challenge, backed by a healthcare professional and former Government minister, has been launched by the Christian Legal Centre.

Right To Life UK has launched tools in England, Wales & Scotland which makes it easy for residents to contact their local representatives and ask them to revoke the dangerous ‘DIY’ abortion decision in their respective countries.

Ask your local MP, AM or MSP to revoke the dangerous ‘DIY’ abortion decision!

In Northern Ireland we have a separate tool calling on MPs to vote against the extreme abortion regime imposed on the province.

India approves draft bill that could introduce disability-selective abortion up to birth

India’s Union Cabinet has approved a draft bill that would remove safeguards for unborn babies and introduce disability-selective abortion, possibly for conditions including Down’s syndrome and cleft lip, up to birth. 

Under the current law, abortion is permitted up to 12 weeks in cases where a medical practitioner finds the the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman could be at risk or 

if there is a risk the baby could be born with a disability or physical abnormality, such as a cleft lip. 

Abortion is then permitted up until the 20th week of pregnancy with the approval of two doctors, and only beyond that if the mother’s life is in danger. 

The cabinet, which is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, voted last week to introduce a bill that will allow women to seek abortions at 20 weeks gestation, with the approval of one doctor, rather than 12 weeks.  

Additionally, a “special category” of women, including disabled women, will be able to seek an abortion up to 24 weeks with the approval of two doctors.

The proposed changes don’t just single out disabled women, but also babies with disabilities. 

The latest proposal states that the “upper gestation limit not to apply in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by [the] Medical Board.” Language worded similarly in the UK has allowed disability abortion up to birth. 

Last year, India’s Minister for Health was unashamedly candid about allowing disability-selective abortion up to birth, boasting about his plans to change the abortion law he stated: “The Ministry [of Health] has proposed to amend the MTP Act, 1971, to… expand access to abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian and social grounds.” 

Fresh legislation to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 1971 will now be presented, debated and voted during the current session of parliament, which ends on Friday 3 April.

The cabinet’s decision, to introduce the bill, comes just months after the Government told the Supreme Court in September that the 20-week limit could not be changed, saying a foetus’s right to life transcends all other rights. 

Due to previous reports on sex-selective abortion in India, it is likely that the majority of abortions will have been performed on unborn baby girls.

Despite outlawing sex-selective abortion and pre-natal sex detection in 1994, census data from 2011 showed there were 914 girls to every 1,000 boys for children up to the age of six. In some northern states that ratio was as low as 850, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The World Health Organization says the natural sex ratio at birth is about 105 boys to every 100 girls.

Last year, it was revealed out of 216 births across dozens of villages in northern India, over a 3 month period, not a single girl was born.

Last month, the remains of what is estimated to be twenty-four unborn babies – were discovered in a blood-soaked bag, in West Bengal, India.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: 

“Just months after being told the right to life transcends all other rights, the Indian Government has decided it will expand abortion access in the country and, therefore, deny the right to life to hundreds of thousands of babies every year. 

“Even worse, the new proposals single out those with disabilities, with the Minister for Health unashamedly announcing his plans to ‘expand access to abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian and social grounds’.

“This not only involves singling out babies with disabilities, but also singling out mothers with disabilities and introducing new criteria that will allow for abortion between 20 and 24 weeks for women who have a disability themselves.

“Unfortunately, these extreme abortion proposals hit closer to home than you might think. The Conservative Government’s abortion framework for Northern Ireland, for example, will also permit disability abortion up to birth for conditions such as Down’s syndrome and cleft lip. 
“This abortion framework goes far beyond what the Government was required to do after it voted to impose extreme abortion legislation on Northern Ireland. Please join thousands  of others in joining our Protect women, Save lives campaign and urge your MP to write to the Prime Minister asking him not to go further than required and implement disability abortion.”