Daily Dispatches

Chinese couple seeks damages for forced abortion

"Chinese couple seeks damages for forced abortion" Continued...

A reliable tally of forced abortions is impossible because it appears victims rarely speak out. Many are unfamiliar with laws ostensibly intended to protect their rights, and others may be silenced by local officials with threats or money. “They won’t say anything unless they cannot endure the pains anymore and must seek assistance,” said Yang Zhizhu, a Beijing professor and advocate for birthing rights.

China announced it would loosen its family-planning policy in November, but the change was more of a tweak, allowing couples to bear a second child in cases when one parent is an only child. That would only apply to about 10 million couples in a nation of 1.35 billion: Gong and Wu, it turns out, are still not eligible.

Liang Zhongtang, a demographer at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the Chinese family planning system has not ultimately changed. “It still forbids you from having more children than permitted by the government, so the game—and forced later-term abortions—are unavoidable if you want to have children the government does not allow.”

“Even those families who can now have a second child will need government permission to get pregnant,” added Littlejohn. “I fully expect that we will continue to see forced abortions and sterilizations of Chinese women in 2014 and beyond.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Daniel James Devine
Daniel James Devine

Daniel is managing editor of WORLD Magazine and lives in Indiana. Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanJamDevine.


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