Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cue crickets chirping

Chinese parents fight forced abortions

QIAN'AN, China - Yang Zhongchen, a small-town businessman, wined and dined three government officials for permission to become a father.

But the Peking duck and liquor weren't enough. One night, a couple of weeks before her date for giving birth, Yang's wife was dragged from her bed in a north China town and taken to a clinic, where, she says, her baby was killed by injection while still inside her.

"Several people held me down, they ripped my clothes aside and the doctor pushed a large syringe into my stomach," says Jin Yani ....

Some 30 years after China decreed a general limit of one child per family, resentment still brews over the state's regular and sometimes brutal intrusion into intimate family matters. Not only are many second pregnancies aborted, but even to have one's first child requires a license.

Seven years after the dead baby was pulled from her body with forceps, Jin remains traumatized and, the couple and a doctor say, unable to bear children.

Their attempts to get restitution were fruitless -- though what restitution can possibly be made? Their child can't be brought back from the dead.

Then they tried suing the family planning agency that forced the abortion. Again to no avail. The judges ruled that since the child was concieved out-of-wedlock, it was illegal and thus needed to be gotten rid of.

As she waits for the next round in court, Jin says she is too weak to work and has been celibate for years because sex is too painful.

Her husband prods her to tell her story, but during an interview she sits silent for a long time and finally says she doesn't want to talk about the past because it's too sad.

Then she quietly insists the lawsuit is something she has to do for Yang Ying, the baby girl she carried but never got to see or hold.

I recall Hillary Clinton once speaking out against the forced abortions, and Betsy Hart, in Reproductive Rights and Wrongs, castigated the organizations that either look the other way or actively support draconian "family planning" policies.

Prolifers have been up in arms for decades, since Steve Mosher first uncovered the problem. But other than Hillary and Hart, the only sounds I've heard from the self-proclaimed champions of "choice" have been the sounds of crickets chirping.


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