Six months pregnant. Police forcibly take you/your wife to get an abortion. Sound impossible? It actually happened this week to Arzigul Tursun, an Uyghur mother of two in China. The Uyghurs are a Turkic people living in the areas of Central Asia commonly known as East Turkestan. China permits only one child per family, but allows ethnic minorities such as Arzigul to have more: peasants can have three and those living in the city can have two. Arzigul is a peasant, but her husband is from a city so the policy is unclear.
Arzigul had already been under guard in the hospital, but managed to escape. Twenty to thirty policemen showed up at her home on Monday and forcibly took her to another more heavily guarded hospital to have an abortion. It was set to be carried out on Tuesday against her will.
On Monday, two U.S. Congressmen urged the Chinese government to stop the planned abortion and release Arzigul. According to Radio Free Asia:
Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania on Monday urged officials to “immediately intervene in order to stop any forced abortion from taking place.” On Friday, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, ranking member on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, called forced abortions a “barbaric practice” and made a personal appeal to Chinese ambassador Zhou Wenzhong.
Smith also contacted U.S. Ambassador to China Clark Randt and asked him to intervene. Randt spoke with the executive vice foreign minister, Wang Guanya, Smith’s office said.
This is not an isolated case. Time Magazine reported in April, 2007 about:
…alleged forced abortions in China’s impoverished Guangxi province. Earlier this month as many as 61 pregnant women were injected with an abortive drug after being dragged to local hospitals, according to media accounts. Human rights activists say actions allegedly carried out by family planning officials there are unlikely to be isolated.
Some of those women were even nine months pregnant, according to NPR. He Caigan was one of those women. The Chinese government does not allow unwed mothers to have a baby, but, at 19 years old, she was too young to get a marriage license to marry the father. She was just days away from delivering her first child when officials turned up at her home, took her to the hospital, and had her baby aborted.
A family who exceeds the quota of allowable children can face having to pay stiff penalties and also possibly the loss of a job or a demotion and even expulsion from the Party. Those who abide by the quota are rewarded with a small yearly stipend. The Chinese government has this one-child policy to slow population growth.
For all the slick pageantry and seemingly happy people seen in the Beijing Olympics this year, the Chinese people experience high personal losses of freedom. Most likely due to the high profile of Arzigul Tursun’s case, she was one of the lucky ones. She was released from the hospital and allowed to continue her pregnancy.
People in the U.S. like Sarah Palin who are against abortions in the case of rape and incest might want to focus their wrath on what the Chinese government is doing – forcing married women who want their babies to get abortions. This is truly an inhumane travesty.