Disappearing Daughters: Women Pregnant With Girls Pressured Into Abortions


Mother Says She Was Tortured to Abort Twin Girls

Those seeking to maintain the status quo, meanwhile, have been aggressive.

Mitu Khurana, 34, a pediatrician and a mother trying to fight the system, said she's faced death threats for the lawsuit she has filed against her husband and her husband's family.

Khurana said her parents-in-law tricked her into eating a cake made with eggs, knowing that she was allergic to eggs. She had to go to the emergency room and at the hospital, where, Khurana said, an ultrasound determined that she was pregnant with twin girls. (Watch an interview with Mitu Khurana here.)

Khurana claims, to ensure she miscarried, her husband and his family tortured her and deprived her of food, until she fled to her parents to give birth. When one of her daughters was 4 months old, Khurana said, her mother-in-law threw the baby down a staircase.

When ABC News reached Dr. Khurana's husband, he denied her claims but refused to provide any further comment.

Khurana's lawsuit has been ongoing for nearly four years. She said she's willing to fight as long as it takes in hopes that her daughters don't someday have to face the horrors that she did.

"How do I safeguard them when they get married? If this can happen to me, it can happen to them when they grow up. And that is the reason I'm fighting it," she said.

Trafficking for Brides

It's not just pregnant women and infant girls who face the consequences of gendercide. With men outnumbering women, some families resort to the black market and human trafficking to buy brides for their sons.

Sakina was 12 years old when she says she was sold for 10,000 rupees, or $200, and moved 1,000 miles from her home to a village in the Indian state of Haryana. She has since given birth to nine children, eight of them boys. Though Sakina herself says she was the victim of human trafficking, she said she might turn to the black market to find wives for her sons.

"In Haryana, because there are no women, I will have to pay money to marry my sons. And if I have to buy a bride, I will," she said.

A Unique Home

There is hope for young girls in India. In addition to the activists fighting against gendercide, the government and charities have set up a network of orphanages called "cradle houses."

One of them is called Unique Home. The woman who founded the orphanage, Prekash Kaur, cares for 60 girls, some just days old. Some abandoned infants are found in trash cans. Others are discreetly left in a drop box at the orphanage door.

Many of the infants, Kaur said, are "half dead" when they arrive because of the drugs their mothers have taken in an attempts to abort them.

No child is turned away from Unique Home. They live in close quarters and eat, sleep and study together. Kaur is affectionately known as "mama" and calls each child there her daughter -- girls she'll raise, protect and educate. She doesn't allow adoptions for fear that girls will again fall victim to abuse and neglect.

"It is important to empower and embolden these girls to make them stronger, so one day, when they give birth to a baby girl, they will not give into the pressure to play with nature," she said. "They should understand whatever their moms did to them, they should not do to their own daughters."

Lucy Singh, 19, has lived at Unique Home since she was one day old. She attends college and wants to be a teacher. She calls Prakash Kaur her mom, her dad, her everything.

"I feel that I'm the lucky one," she said.

Watch the full story on the latest episode of "20/20."

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