An end to forced late-term abortions in China?

All Girls Allowed, a U.S.-based organization advocating the end of China’s one-child policy, recently announced that they “received word that China’s central family planning leaders have ordered local affiliates to modify their enforcement of the One-Child Policy.”

This order from the Chinese government was issued on August 30, and it calls for the end of forced late-term abortions and forced sterilization. Several horror stories have come from China this year, showing that the government was enforcing the one-child policy through the use of forced late-term abortions. In particular, the story of Feng Jianmei and the graphic image of her next to her then-recently aborted child caught international attention and resulted in leaders worldwide condemning China’s enforcement of its one-child policy.

What remains in effect, however, are the large fines that couples can be charged if they have multiple children. All Girls Allows points to one couple who was recently charged over $11,000 USD for their second child, even when they had permission to have another child. While fines may not be the physical deterrent that forced abortions are, they will still have the effect of financially punishing those “guilty” of breaking the policy.

President of All Girls Allowed Chai Ling released this statement:

When God told Moses that the Red Sea would part, it did. Last year a prophecy was given that God would end the One-Child Policy in China, and I rejoice that God is already doing it. The media’s exposure of this injustice has been invaluable, and people in China and around the world are standing boldly against injustice. This has made China understand that they can no longer hide the brutal truth. Minster Wang Xia’s order to end forced abortion is awesome progress.

I hope that this latest news brings all our nation’s voices together to help speed the end of the policy. I urge the Obama administration to uphold the rights of women in China by pressing China to go even further in its rollback of coercive family planning. I am grateful for Chen Guangcheng’s advocacy, Congressman Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) faithful three-decade fight against forced abortion in China, for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Mitt Romney’s calls for the end of the One-Child Policy, and for the open condemnation of the One-Child Policy in the Republican party platform.

Even with Minister Wang’s call to end late-term forced abortions, the policy remains coercive: it still threatens parents with huge fines and job loss for having a second child. Human rights will take a back seat as long as the government continues to use family planning fees as a major revenue source. China cannot genuinely claim that the policy is ‘coercion-free’ until it no longer threatens parents’ livelihoods and ability to provide.

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