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July 26, 2012

Late-term abortions put spotlight on China

The one child limit in China has been intact since 1970. (UPI Photo/Stephen Shaver)

BEIJING (UPI) -- Publicity over two women forced to have abortions late in their pregnancies has fueled opposition to China's family planning policy both at home and abroad.

Information on the abortions has become available even in China, USA Today reported Tuesday. In June, pictures of what appeared to be a fully developed but dead baby girl, the result of an abortion forced on a woman in the seventh month of pregnancy, were posted on the Internet.

Since the 1970s, Chinese couples have been limited to one child. To exceed the limit, they must pay heavy fees or fall into one of the exceptional categories.

All Girls Allowed, a Boston-based group fighting the one-child policy, estimates that 10 percent of abortions in China are forced. The group gets its name because some couples abort fetuses if ultrasounds determine they are female.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., argues that all abortions in China are forced because of the one-child policy. Smith has sponsored legislation that would remove U.S. funding for a U.N. program he believes abets Chinese policy.

Chai Ling, a former student activist who left China after the 1989 protests, says the United States must take a clear position. She founded All Girls Allowed.

"Given the United States' unique leadership, it must act to speak truth to power, to stop China's brutal one-child policy and to help rescue these powerless people," she said.

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