Deadly cooperation: Planned Parenthood and China’s One-Child Policy

Planned Parenthood is not like China; Planned Parenthood is China.

As the saying goes, “where there is smoke, there is fire.” Similarly, where there is abortion, there is Planned Parenthood – even when it’s forced abortion.

Last week, a graphic image of a young woman lying next to her dead daughter sparked widespread outrage against China’s infamous one-child policy. Feng Jianmei of China’s rural Shaanxi province was brutally forced to abort her 7-month-old baby after failing to pay a hefty fine to family planning officials. NBC News reports:

She was blindfolded, thrown on a bed, and forced to sign a document that she couldn’t read with the blindfold still on her eyes. Then two shots were injected into her belly. Thirty hours later, on the morning June 4, she gave birth to a dead baby girl.

This is not an isolated instance. Numerous cases of forced abortion in China have recently been brought to public attention, and Chinese law allows for the abuse. The advocacy group All Girls Allowed explains:

Mandatory abortion, which is often referred to as “remedial measures” (bujiu cuoshi) in government reports, is endorsed explicitly as an official policy instrument in the regulations of 18 of China’s 31 provincial-level jurisdictions.

One might expect action to be taken against this barbaric policy from a self-declared champion of choice and women’s rights like Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Though the organization has condemned the abuse of women like Feng Jianmei when popular in the United States, it has partnered with the culprits at the international level.

Yes, you read that right. Planned Parenthood is partially to blame for Feng Jianmei’s abuse. Get out your notebook, pull out your magnifying glass, and let’s do some detective work.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Planned Parenthood branch that we are most familiar with, is one of many members of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Since 1983, IPPF has operated in China through its official member organization, The China Family Planning Association (CFPA). CFPA works with the Chinese government and made clear its purpose in a statement released at the founding of the organization, saying that “[t]he association will implement government population control policies.”

How does this relate to Feng Jianmei? On the website of The China Family Planning Association is a drop-down menu linking visitors to CFPA regional offices. Pressing the button for the province of Shaanxi will take visitors directly to the government website for the Family Planning Commission of Shaanxi – the government entity responsible for Feng’s forced abortion. 

Without being able to read Chinese or hop on a plane to investigate, it is unclear what CFPA’s cooperation with this organization entails. At the very least, however, CFPA maintains a relationship with this government entity and refers to it as one of its own offices. (The button linking to the website is labeled “Our Offices.”) Planned Parenthood must give account for these alarming connections.

As if this partnership isn’t infuriating enough, this is not Planned Parenthood’s first strike. In a 2009 interview with China’s Xinhua News Agency, former IPPF director-general Gill Greer praised China’s population policies, saying the policy helped China’s economy and alleviated problems of overpopulation. Planned Parenthood has also openly stated support for China’s one-child policy, despite its egregious human rights violations. While describing its operations in China, International Planned Parenthood Federation stated:

The China Family Planning Association (CFPA) plays a very important role in China’s family planning programme.  It supports the present family planning policy of the government, which is appropriate for the present national situation.

How dare Planned Parenthood call itself a defender choice, yet support this atrocious policy? China’s one-child policy is the antithesis of choice. The policy strips families of their ability to plan parenthood, and forced abortion robs children of a lifetime of choices. When Feng Jianmei was blindfolded and abused, why didn’t her choice matter?

In the midst of Live Action’s recent investigations of gendercide in America, Bill O’Reilly was criticized for equating Planned Parenthood in America to China. Media Matters, Daily Kos, and others attacked O’Reilly for concluding:

Are we now China in this country? If Planned Parenthood is advising women to abort because of gender choice, then we are China. And you should remember that the next time a politician or famous person endorses Planned Parenthood.

O’Reilly’s conclusion was not only accurate, but too kind. Planned Parenthood does not limit itself to mimicking China in the United States; it supports the human rights abuses abroad that it so wishes to publicly distance itself from at home.

Planned Parenthood is not like China; Planned Parenthood is China.

Planned Parenthood’s calls for choice are a sham. Empty rhetoric is no consolation to Feng Jianmei and the countless other victims of China’s one-child policy. If Planned Parenthood truly believes in women’s rights, let it take action against China’s one-child policy rather than partner with the abuse.

For additional information regarding China’s one-child policy, check out Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and All Girls Allowed.

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