Chinese woman forced to abort 8-month-old foetus
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Last Updated: Thursday, October 21, 2010, 21:27
  
Beijing: A pregnant woman in south China was detained, beaten and forced to have an abortion just a month before her due date because the baby would have violated the country's one-child limit, her husband said on Thursday.

Construction worker Luo Yanquan said his wife was taken kicking and screaming from their home by more than a dozen people on Oct. 10 and detained in a clinic for three days by family planning officials, then taken to a hospital and injected with a drug that killed her baby.

Family planning officials told the couple they weren't allowed to have the child because they already have a 9-year-old daughter, Luo said.

For the last 30 years, China has limited most urban couples to just one child in a bid to curb population growth and conserve its limited resources. China has the world's largest population, with more than 1.3 billion people. Couples that flout the rules face hefty fines, seizure of their property and loss of their jobs.

The case is an extreme example of the coercive measures Chinese officials sometimes use to comply with the strict family planning regulations. Though illegal, police and judicial authorities often look the other way when forced abortion cases are reported and the heavily censored state media shy away from such news.

But in recent years, victims have begun to speak out about their ordeals with the help of the Internet and text messaging. Aiding them are social campaigners and lawyers who have documented cases of forced late-term abortions. Similar abuses have been reported in Hebei and Shandong provinces and in the Guangxi region.

An official with the Siming district family planning commission, which oversees Luo's neighbourhood, confirmed there was a record of Luo's wife, Xiao Aiying, undergoing an abortion recently but said the procedure was voluntary and that she was about six months instead of eight months pregnant at the time. Like many Chinese bureaucrats, he refused to give his name.

China bans forced abortions, but doesn't prohibit or clearly define late-term abortion.

The Siming official said Xiao's husband had approved the abortion, a claim Luo denied.

"I never signed anything. No one in our family did," he said by telephone from Xiamen. "I called the police but they said family planning issues weren't their responsibility. I want to sue, but lawyers I've asked here say they can't help me and the media won't report on our case."

Luo set up a blog last week to let people know what had happened to his wife, and satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera posted a report about the couple's case on its website yesterday.

Ordinary Chinese reacted with anger and disgust to Luo's on line account, posting comments that called the family planning officials cruel and inhuman.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, October 21, 2010, 21:27


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