China was never going to win any human rights awards with its one child policy, but the country may have hit the bottom rung this time. A family is alleging they were forced to abort their baby just one month before the due date because they already have a 9-year-old daughter at home. Almost makes sterilization sound kind, doesn't it?
It's a pregnancy that was far enough along to ostensibly produce a baby who would survive, but Luo Yanquan says his wife was dragged kicking and screaming from their home and injected with a drug to kill the baby.
They're serious allegations at any time, but especially puzzling with news just last month that the policy is being abandoned. The forced abortions have been reported before, but in more recent years, couples were simply fined for their insubordination. Hefty fines, mind you, but the baby got to live.
There have also been reports over the years of women being sterilized to prevent them from popping out more little ones. Just this spring, Amnesty International declared a plan to sterilize some 10,000 Chinese people as "torture."
Which made the announcement that the one child policy or Zero Population Growth program was being cut out sound vaguely like lip service being paid the rest of the world. As the country becomes more dominant on the global market, they were making the rest of the world happy.
But if they're going to say "sure, get pregnant," then force women to get abortions anyway, I dare say the sterilization procedure is kinder.
Hear me out. Amnesty International is on the right track. It's torture.
But this sort of bait and switch is equally harrowing. Perhaps more so. This is not a castigation of abortion as a whole but a reminder that even the most pro-choice advocates are proponents of exactly that -- choice.
There's no telling how Luo Yanquan's wife ended up pregnant. Was it an oops? On purpose? Did she think no one would notice because her daughter was older?
We can't say for sure that she had a "choice" in getting pregnant. But she surely did not have a choice in the matter of what happened to her body in the end.
So China, stop messing around. If it's one child and one child only, don't leave women hanging. Tell them they can get a tubal after baby number one. Pay for it. Do it nicely, in a hospital, with anesthesia. Send them flowers.
Don't tell them, "Eh, we're considering giving you back your humanity, but we'd like to torture you along the way."
You still won't win any humanitarian awards, but at least you won't be murderers.
Image via dizznbonn/Flickr