It’s an election year, so for most of us that means a renewed sense of disgust in our political system. Most Americans are too busy with their lives — raising their kids, maintaining a household, and working — to really pay attention to the day in and day out goings-on of government. But every few years, we’re reminded of who didn’t vote for tax breaks and wonder who’s hiding the next big scandal. We often think the political system is so darn horrible, and it certainly is at times. But when you hear about stories in other countries, there’s a bit of perspective that comes into focus, and the political mudslinging in America suddenly seems like welcomed news when you find out that women half way around the world are being forced to have late-term abortions. Yes, forced. Sometimes as far along as eight months.
It’s something that is unfathomable in our country, but this nightmare is all too real for far too many Chinese women.
After the jump, hear one woman’s story of her forced abortion at eight months and her government’s excuse for it.
Sadly, forced abortions are nothing new for Chinese women. The practice has likely been going on since the country instituted its “one child policy” in 1980. But a recent account of an eighth-month abortion, as covered by The New York Times, has once again thrust this issue to the forefront.
According to the article, eight-months-pregnant Pan Chunyan was abducted from a grocery store in April, held for four days, given a shot to abort her unborn child, and forced to give birth to a dead baby. With China having the world’s largest population, its government has not only made economical excuses for forced abortions, but it has also seemingly encouraged and rewarded its local officials for keeping population numbers down. It’s difficult — as a woman and a writer — to pair those two concepts together. Forced abortion and economics. My logical mind understands the economic, environmental, and global concerns of overpopulation. I understand that each year millions are born into poverty from which they will never rise, that millions around the globe go hungry, live without basic and clean necessities, have zero or limited access to medical needs, and belong to a broken system that constantly repeats itself. But is the answer to that robbing the life of an unborn child from its mother? Absolutely not.
But the Chinese government praises its one-child policy for having prevented 400 million births since 1980. Four hundred million. Of course, not all of those were forced abortions — though we will never know just how many children lost their lives to a policy that critics say is long overdue for an overhaul. And, again, it comes down to economics.
In our country, if the economy needs fixing, it often means more money gets pumped into it somehow — taxes, mandates, federal reserves — and we all mostly complain. In our country, we fight for or against a woman’s right to choose, but at the end of the day, no woman is forced either way — even though choice is becoming more and more limited and restricted in certain areas of the country. In our country, we could hardly imagine a government that forces abortion. But the reality for women in China is quite different. Controlling the amount of children a woman has is national policy there and can result in kidnapping, non-consent of medical treatment, and forced abortion of your unborn child.
Imagine a 2012 political attack ad in this country that said that?
To speak out against China’s one-child policy or to see how you can make a difference, visit All Girls Allowed.
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make A Right