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Forced to Abort After 7 months of Pregnancy; the US Raises Concerns on China’s Abortion Policy, But Is it Enough?

Posted by S. Fenella Das Gupta, Ph.D., Neuroscience on with 0 Comments

China’s one child policy came into force in 1980 and restricted most families in China from having more than one child as a means of controlling the population. 

The Chinese government’s justification for the policy lies in their assertion that it has prevented an additional 400 million births from occurring in the already overpopulated country of 1.3 billion people.

Local authorities pursue birth quotas set by Beijing by imposing abortions and sterilizations. The number of abortions has increased from less than 5 million abortions (before 1979) to 8.7 million (in 1981) - a year after the one-child policy was launched, peaking at 14.4 million (in 1983).

One recent imposed abortion flying around cyberspace is the case of Feng Jianmei. On June 2, Feng Jianmei, 27, was beaten by three Chinese officials, held down with a pillow over her head, and then injected with lethal chemicals to the belly to abort her unborn child. The dead baby was evacuated 2 days later after intense pain to the mother. Her baby was already seven months in utero.

Why did this happen? Her family could not afford a 40,000 yuan ($6,300) fine for having a second child.

The excessive enforcement of the one child policy and the violation of human rights involved in this case has caused the news about this young woman to go viral.

The official Xinhua News Agency has reported that the three officials involved were in the process of being investigated/ suspended and an apology to Feng and her husband would be issued.

Although a commentary posted on the China.org.cn said the forced abortion “is society’s shame”, experts say the officials involved are unlikely to be seriously punished for this problem. Forced abortions, possibly as late as this one, is something that has existed for 30 years and usually results from orders imposed by the central government.

In short, critics view the apology as lip service.

Feng Jianmei is one woman whose name is now known worldwide. But there are others. According to the Chinese civil rights activist Chen Guangcheng, several women are forced to have abortions within days of their due dates.

This dovetails with the kidnapping and human trafficking that have become a problem in China. The Chinese government reports that fewer than 10,000 children are kidnapped each year, but the U.S. State Department says it's closer to 20,000 and some independent estimates put the number as high as 70,000. The children are lured away from their parents, kidnapped and sold.

But there are no sellers if there are no buyers. Often, the buyers are unknowing foreigners working with equally in-the-dark, out-of-country agencies who believe they are pursuing legal adoptions.  Sometimes, the buyers are in-country couples who have given birth to only daughters and want to be sure their next child is a son (provided they comply with the Chinese requirement for the government license). Some families also buy older girls as brides for their sons. 

These are the ramifications of having one child too many in the Republic of China.

The United States has voiced opposition to China's one-child policy. "We make no secret that the United States strongly opposes all aspects of China's coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization, and we always raise these issues with the Chinese government," stated the State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

But let’s call a spade a spade. Planned Parenthood? Or murder most foul?  Is the U.S. doing enough?

Fenella Das Gupta is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist ( #47275) working in Northern California,specializing in fertility counseling. She works with individuals and couples as they make their way through the fertility maze. The other part of her work includes making fertility issues a newsworthy item, as she writes for the Petaluma Patch-a subsidiary of the Huffington Post. To read more about fertility issues in the news go to http://petaluma.patch.com/users/fenella-das-gupta-phd-neuroscience-mft/blog_posts

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