When you give birth, you place so much trust in the professionals around you. You have just spent nine months cooking up a human being, the most precious thing in the world to you, then pushed it out with extreme pain (most likely), and now you hand it over to someone, who examines your baby, or washes him, sucks stuff out of her eyes and mouth, or wraps her, etc. So imagine if that person said there was something wrong with your child and took it away from you. And then that person said your child had severe disabilities. But what if, all the time, that person was lying?! An obstetrician in China accused of doing this so she could take the newborns and sell them.
Zhang Shuxia was found guilty of taking newborns away from their mothers, telling them the infants had severe disabilities or diseases, and convincing the women to sign away their rights to them. At least one woman was reportedly told her baby had died.
She then sold the babies on the black market to couples who wanted children.
Six of the babies she sold were found and returned to their families, but one died, having been abandoned in a ditch by a middleman. Zhang Shuxia is suspected of doing this to at least 26 babies.
Here in America, you'd be hard-pressed to find a mom who would willingly give up her baby because she was told it had disabilities (though certainly there are some who would); however, in China, things are different. Couples can only have one child. There are extremes in financial inequality that are much worse than here. Many of the women told something like this probably didn't have the resources to take care of a disabled child -- and probably didn't want that to be the only one they were allowed to have.
Does this woman deserve the death penalty? That's a question for each person to answer in their own hearts. Certainly this woman caused untold horror and pain and suffering on these helpless babies and their families.
Zhang Shuxia will most likely never be put to death though. Her sentence has a two-year reprieve, which means she has two years never to commit a similar crime. If she does not, then she gets life in prison instead. It's unclear if her reprieve means she will not be in prison for two years.
This woman truly betrayed not only those babies and those families, but her own medical profession.
Do you think she deserves to be put to death?
Image via Imaginechina/Corbis