Pregnant women in China coerced to abort, accused of “deliberately” breaking law

abortion, sex selection

“Pregnancy is natural and innocent. That the Chinese Communist Party would treat pregnant women as criminals and tell them they ‘deliberately broke the law’ by becoming pregnant is madness.”

So writes Women’s Rights Without Frontiers president Reggie Littlejohn today in an email press release about yet another woman who has been forced to abort her baby in China, a country long known for it’s One-Child Policy (recently revised as a Two-Child Policy), which has led to countless forced and coerced abortions.

The woman, Anxiang (not her real name) and her husband, a remarried couple living in Guangdong, were reportedly forced to choose between carrying their baby to term or keeping their government jobs. Littlejohn states that the couple “thought that they were allowed to have another child, but were caught in an omission regarding remarried women in Guangdong Province.  At the end of July, they were told to abort, or face fines and dismissal.”

Littlejohn reports that Anxiang’s pregnancy was six months along, which meant that her baby had to be aborted by the induction method. Former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, describes the process of an induction abortion in the video below:

The day following her coerced abortion, Littlejohn says Anxiang told a group of other mothers in a WeChat group in Guangdong, “I saw my daughter.  She didn’t move.  She was dead.”

Littlejohn wrote in her press release:

Although Anxiang was not physically dragged out of her home for an abortion, this abortion was nevertheless coerced.  You can force someone through physical coercion or financial coercion.  Any abortion against the will of the mother is forced.  The fact that her pregnancy would have been allowed in other provinces but not in Guangdong is further evidence of the lack of uniformity in the enforcement of China’s population control policies. It is the tyranny of the arbitrary.

Littlejohn’s press release also includes a statement from a member of the WeChat group, Lin Jing, who says “it never occurred” to her that because her husband had a child from a previous marriage, and then they had one child together, that they could now be pregnant with a third child illegally because of the inconsistently enforced family planning laws regarding remarried couples. Lin Jing describes hiding her pregnancy in various ways due to uncertainty about benefits and fear of being accused of breaking the law.

Littlejohn writes:

Trying to gain clarity on whether their pregnancies are legal, [Lin Jing] and other members of the WeChat group for remarried pregnant women converged on the Guangdong provincial government offices with a petition to legalize their pregnancies.  Their petition was denied.  In tears, Lin told Sixth Tone, “They told us we deliberately broke the law.  They thought we’d just come to make trouble.”

Lin does not know how her employer will react in September, but she remains at risk.  She stated, “No policy has come out on paper.  We still don’t have the protection of law.”

Members of the WeChat group for pregnant remarried women present a petition to legalize their pregnancies at the provincial offices in Guangzhou, Guangdong, June 21, 2016

Members of the WeChat group for pregnant remarried women present a petition to legalize their pregnancies at the provincial offices in Guangzhou, Guangdong, June 21, 2016 (Photo by WeChat, via Reggie Littlejohn)

Littlejohn reports that a third woman in the WeChat group of remarried women was told by her and her husband’s employer that she was to abort their baby at seven months, unless the Guangdong government released a statement. Thankfully, the government did, and she was allowed to keep her baby. However, Littlejohn says “Guangdong has not yet adopted a clear law allowing married couples to have two children, even if the second child in the marriage would be the third child of one or both of the spouses.”

Littlejohn notes that it isn’t just the Chinese government that is now intimidating families and pressuring women to abort. It’s employers, too. She says Sixth Tone, a state-controlled media outlet in China, is reporting on these injustices — a move she calls “courageous” — because she believes there is “a growing dissatisfaction within the Chinese government with a policy that has long out-lasted it[s] utility and stands as a brutal symbol of the failure of Communism to protect the rights of the people.”

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