Chinese women plead for the lives of their unborn children

From a Chinese woman who enforced the one child policy in China:

“My first assignment directly concerned with abortion was to interview pregnant women who were brought into the clinic.… The only thing that really concerned the clinic director was how far along she was, as that determined the kind of abortion procedure that would be used. At the same time, I was to try and obtain her consent for the procedure she was about to undergo. The abortion would be performed in any case, I was told, but it was easier on everyone concerned if the patient first gave her permission…

Most of the women I saw were married… Many had been subjected to weeks of high-pressure tactics and had only reluctantly come around. More often than not, they arrived at the hospital accompanied by one or two unsmiling officials from the Women’s Federation. “Hurry up and finish what we have started,” I was urged more than once by such escorts, “before she changes her mind and gives us more trouble.”

At the time I saw nothing unethical about my assignment… I had repressed my earlier qualms about the morality of the new policy. It made good economic sense to me that China had to control its population in order to modernize. But at the same time I remained generally sympathetic with what these sad—faced women were going through… As things were, I was convinced that I was doing them a kindness by helping them to accept, as I had, the inevitable.

I was very good at this kind of manipulation, for I set out to make friends with each new patient… I would chat with her about her job and her family. When she began to relax a little in my company, I would bring the conversation around to the question. “Well, you appear to have exceeded your allotted number of children,” I would begin in my most sympathetic manner. She would answer yes. “I, too, once conceived an over quota child,” I would confide to her. “I, too, had to undergo remedial measures. I know it is a difficult thing to do. But it is necessary for the sake of our fatherland. Are you willing?”

Many were already defeated, and, when the question was put to them, would nod wordlessly, tears streaming down their faces. Others I was able to persuade. “You’ll have another chance to have a baby in a few years,” I would say soothingly. I didn’t really believe this, for the one child policy was getting stricter and stricter, but the desperate women to whom I was speaking sometimes did.

A few, when I asked if they consented to the operation, burst into bitter laughter. “Why ask me?” One scoffed. “I don’t have any choice. The population control workers in my unit have been after me for months… “Reflect on your mistake!” Only if I undergo “remedial measures” with they stop pressuring me and my husband.”

From time to time we would get a “pleader,” as they were scornfully referred to by the clinic staff. These women were the toughest to deal with, for they begged shamelessly and unceasingly. “Please spare the life of my child!” These women would cry out. “Please allow my baby to live. My husband and I want this baby very much.” Some even got down on their knees and began knocking their heads on the floor in supplication. “This is our last chance to have another child. Please… I beg you!”

Their pleas for mercy rang out like accusations and left a bitter taste in my mouth. My usual arguments were ineffective with pleaders, and I was reduced to pleading in my turn. “Please don’t make things even more difficult for us,” I would say. “We are only following orders. We don’t have any more choice than you do. We have no way to escape our responsibilities.” Despite my best efforts, I was frequently unable to induce these women to accept calmly their child’s fate. Some went into the operating room still begging, making everyone uneasy and uncomfortable.

At least where these pleaders were concerned, my sympathy soon gave way to irritation. Why couldn’t they understand that we clinic workers were not personally responsible for our actions? The doctors were only following orders. I was only a minor functionary. Besides, I, too, had been compelled to have an abortion. I, too, had only one child. Why should anyone be allowed to have more children than I? I hardened my heart again such women and began rebuking them. “Why do you insist on having a second child?” I asked. “Don’t you know that it is unfair for those who have only one?”

Stephen W Mosher A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight against China’s One Child Policy (Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993) 251 – 253

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Chinese woman braves leeches and mosquitoes to protect her baby

This is the story of a Chinese woman named Aiming:

“After the birth of her second child, she was visited by the head of the local Woman’s Federation. “She wanted me to wear an IUD or agree to sterilization,” Aiming recalled. “I refused. At the time the official limit was two children, but this was not strictly enforced. I still had to prove myself, you see. In the countryside people look down on you if you cannot produce sons. I wanted the people in my husband’s village to respect me. My husband didn’t beat me after I gave birth to girls, as some women are beaten by their husbands. But I could tell he wasn’t happy. I wanted to give my husband a son…”…

When Aiming became pregnant in October 1978, she knew she could not openly carry this baby to term. She would have to conceal her condition from the Women’s Federation as long as she could, then go into hiding when she was exposed. As soon as the weather turned cold, she donned a bulky winter coat two sizes too big for her. She wore it indoors and out for the next six months. It was not until early May, when the arrival of warm weather forced her into cooler clothes, that she was discovered to be pregnant. “The local head of the Women’s Federation was very unhappy to learn that I was already seven months along,” Aiming laughed. “She immediately designated me a “primary target for remedial measures.”

Months before, Aiming and her husband had devised a plan for this moment. A room had been rented in a remote hamlet a couple of miles from the mine. It had been stocked with clothes, bedding, and other essentials. This would be Aiming’s hideout until she gave birth. All Aiming had to do was travel there, and she would be safe.

Aiming had planned her escape route carefully but had not reckoned on how quickly the Women’s Federation would move. The night before Aiming was to travel to the mine, she and Mother Wei were awakened at 1:00 AM by the sound of someone banging on the front door. They looked out through the bars of their bedroom window to see the Women’s Federation head at the door. She was backed by five militia men armed with rifles. A horse-drawn cart stood down the street. Aiming knew at once that they had come to take her to the commune medical clinic, by force if necessary.

“I bolted for the back door,” Aiming recalled, “wearing only my nightshirt. Behind me I heard Mother Wei loudly arguing with the head of the Women’s Federation through the door. “What do you want at such an hour?!”

“Open the door! This is a matter of state business!”

“I ran across the alley way and hid myself quickly inside a pigsty. I did not want to wake up the dogs of the village. I waited and listened to see what would happen when they found out that I was missing.”

As soon as Mother Wei opened the door a crack, the militia men forced their way inside. “Where is she?” Aiming heard the head of the Women’s Federation shout. “

“I don’t know,” Mother Wei’s voice came back coolly. “She left some time ago.”

“We’ll see about that,” the official responded. “Search the bedrooms,” she ordered the militiamen. There was the sound of trunks being opened and furniture being moved. After a minute the voice of the official could be heard again. “Where did she go?” She shouted, angry that her quarry had eluded her. Mother Wei’s response was too soft to make out, but the official’s strident voice could be heard loud and clear: “In that case we will wait here for her until she returns.”…

Aiming knew she couldn’t stay in the pigsty. At any minute the head of the Women’s Federation might order a search of the village. Besides, she was being tormented by great clouds of mosquitoes, undeterred by her thin nightshirt or her careful efforts to wave them away. She considered setting out for her distant hiding place under cover of darkness, but abandoned the idea for fear that the roads were being patrolled. Instead, she decided, she would leave the confines of the village and conceal herself in the surrounding paddy fields. There, where it was safer, she would wait out the militiamen…

In a minute she had passed out of the village onto the narrow pathways that divided the individual paddies, placing her feet carefully on the muddy, slippery ridges to avoid a fall. She came to a small rock outcropping about 100 yards from the village – close enough to see what the militiamen were up to but providing enough cover to avoid being seen – and squatted there to wait for the dawn. “There were even more mosquitoes in the rice patties than in the pigsty,” Aiming recalled wryly. “The mosquitoes stung me until I was covered with welts. Maddened by the constant bites, I got down from the rock into the patty itself, squatting down in the cool water, feeling my feet sink into the mud below. I smeared thick mud over the exposed parts of my body. The cool wetness helped to relieve some of the itching, but as soon as it dried the mosquitoes would return, biting me through the layer of mud. I felt a tickling on my legs and kept having to slap off hungry leeches. I was miserable, hungry, and tired. I refused to give in to self-pity, though. I was not going to give myself up, no matter what happened.… If they discovered me, I was ready to fight to the death for the life of my son.”

She stayed in the paddy field for two days until the militiamen left,

“Aiming hid inside Mother Wei’s house that night and the following day, resting and regaining her strength. Then she set out under cover of darkness for her hiding place. It took most of the night to walk to the county seat. From there she took the morning bus to the market towns nearest her destination, covering the last 5 miles through the hills to the hamlet on foot. She was at the end of her strength when she arrived at her hiding place. Her husband, who got word through a friend that she was coming, was waiting for her. She collapsed into his arms, exhausted by but triumphant.

For several days after Aiming’s disappearance, the head of the Women’s Federation busied herself striking other “primary targets for remedial measures.” Nine women from the Village of the Three Brothers and surrounding communities – all five or more months pregnant – were arrested during successful midnight raids and taken to the commune medical clinic for abortion and sterilization. Then she turned her attention back to the still missing Aiming…

She and two assistants invaded Mother Wei’s house like an occupying army, arriving early each morning and staying until late each night. Throughout the day they took turns browbeating her about Aiming.”

Other times they would threaten her with heavy fines…

Aiming had her baby.

“A week after Aiming returned home, the militiamen came again, this time in broad daylight. Aiming’s husband was at the mine. “I thought they were coming for my son,” Aiming recalled. “I gave him to Mother Wei in panic and told her to escape out the back door. But it was me they were after. They grabbed me and put me on a cart. I was so surprised that I put up no resistance.”

Aiming was taken under guard to the commune medical clinic. There, on orders from the head of the Women’s Federation, she was given a tubal ligation the same day…

“They carted me off like a pig to the slaughterhouse. But then… Then I thought of our little treasure. I decided it was not too high a price to pay.”

Stephen W Mosher A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight against China’s One Child Policy (Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993) 237 – 240

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Chinese family defies one child policy

A Chinese woman describe the lengths to which a family went to have their “illegal” child.

“Not all illegal pregnancies I heard about during our stay in the Village of the Three Brothers ended in tragedy. One of our visitors… told of how he and his wife defied orders to have an abortion. Their first child had been a girl, and they were desperate to have a son. “I declared to our village Party secretary that we were determined to keep this child,” he said. “He said that we would pay a heavy price for violating the one child policy. “To keep this baby,” I boldly replied, “we will pay any price.”…

“The officials levied a fine of 5000 yuan,” he continued. “We were shocked speechless. 5000 yuan is roughly 20 times our yearly income. But still we obstinately refused an abortion. We put our heads together and managed to come up with about 500 yuan – most of that amount borrowed from my brothers. “We will make installment payments for the rest,” we said. The officials laughed at our offer and carried our pig to the slaughterhouse and our chickens to the butchers. Then they returned for our furniture, auctioning it off in the village square to the highest bidder. We were left with nothing but bare walls and floors. The officials would’ve sold our house, too, but for the fact that it was built condominium style, sharing walls with the homes of my brothers on both sides.

After all our possessions had been sold, the officials told us that we were still 3000 yuan in debt. A struggle meeting was called. I was publicly denounced for having violated the party policy on having children, and for not paying the 3000 yuan we owed the village. How could we pay that debt? We had nothing left but four walls and the clothes on our backs.…

I refused to admit any wrongdoing… “Are you guilty or not guilty?” He asked me. “Not guilty,” I said. They roughed me up a little bit, but they dared not be too harsh with me. After all, my three brothers were in the audience. And most people in the village were secretly sympathetic with our desire to have a son.…

Moneywise it has been very difficult for us… We’ve had to take down the doors in our house and use them as beds. But, no, I’m not sorry.”

Stephen W Mosher A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight against China’s One Child Policy (Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993) 232 – 234

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Chinese woman describes the ravages of China’s forced abortion policy

From a Chinese woman who emigrated to the United States

“The one child program was at that moment in full swing throughout Jiangsu Province. Officials everywhere were running roughshod over pregnant women and their husbands as they scrambled to meet the requirements. Virtually every visitor came bearing news of fresh outrageous. Laughter would stop and it would grow somber as we listened to their stories of women forced into abortions, sterilizations performed without consent, and infants killed at birth.”

Stephen W Mosher A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight against China’s One Child Policy (Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993) 229

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Chinese woman pressured into an abortion

From a Chinese woman who was being pressured to abort her second child:

“Months before my pelvic examination would have given me away, an attack of morning sickness made my condition evident to everyone at work.…

She went to see the nurse after being ordered to by a population control official

A nurse took my medical history and performed the pelvic examination. “The cervix is soft,” she told me when she had finished. “All the signs of pregnancy are present.” She estimated from the date of my last period that I was 10 weeks along. “Your due date is around July 21,” she concluded. “You also have an infection of the cervix, probably from your recent cesarean section.”

The news of my condition was delivered in a clinical tone of voice without the barest hint of a smile. Unplanned pregnancies no longer elicited congratulations. The nurse knew I did not have a quota for a second child. And I knew that she would report my condition back to my unit by phone as soon as she left the examining room.

The next day the population control worker again accosted me at 7:30 AM as I was getting off shift. “We must take care of your situation without delay,” she said, forgoing any small talk. “You should take remedial measures within the week.”

I had carefully rehearsed what I was going to say to her. The official limit is still twochildren, I would say, despite the recentlyintroduced quota system. No one can force meto have an abortion. Besides, with my ongoinginfection, it would be dangerousfor me to have an abortion. Allthings considered, I have decided to have this baby.

Now, face-to-face with this representative of the authorities, my instinct to go along, to avoid confrontation at all costs, reasserted itself. I said nothing.

“Well, Chi An?” She again demanded after a moment. “Do you agree?” I found myself nodding in spite of myself, promising an abortion I had no intention of getting…

All too soon my weeklong grace period was up, and the population control worker came looking for me again. “Why have you not yet been to the hospital?” She scolded me. “You have worked in the area of birth control. You know what the policy of the government is. You must not violate your agreement. If you do, you’ll bear full responsibility for the consequences.”

Each day after work she continued to harangue me, her threats becoming more and more transparent. I was angry and yet at the same time intimidated. I never once talked back.

I had no sanctuary from this relentless pressure to abort. Not even my mother’s apartment was inviolable. Teacher Chen, the head of the street committee, visited me there each and every day. Sometimes she would be waiting for me at the entrance to our building when I arrived home from work. Other times she would stop by in the evenings, when my mother and Wei Xin were home.…

The threats and the scolding’s replayed themselves endlessly in my mind, until they began to eat away at my resolve…

For two weeks the population control official continued her barrage of threats; then one day after I got off work she gave me an ultimatum. “I have made an appointment for you at the hospital tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM.,” she said to me. “Don’t miss it. If you do, the Party secretary swears the consequences for you will be very serious.” Without waiting for a response, she turned to go. “One more thing,” she tossed over her shoulder as she walked away. “I intend to accompany you to the hospital after you get off work. There will be no more delays.”

“This is sheer coercion!” Wei Xin [her husband] said angrily that night, after I recounted to him the words of the population control official…

“If I don’t go in tomorrow, they will increase the pressure,” I said. “The Party secretary will get involved. The street committee will hold public meetings to denounce me… Our personal business will be mancheng fengyu – wagging tongues throughout the city.”

“It already is,” Wei Xin said. “Today I was visited by the population control worker in my factory. She told me that it would be best if we took care of a problem immediately. So much for moving back to my dormitory to avoid this pressure.”

I was stunned by this news… “Oh, Wei Xin, what are we going to do?”

“What can we do?” He responded, sounding defeated. “If the authorities are going to make an issue of this, what choice do we have to go along? How can an egg break a rock?”

Stephen W Mosher A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight against China’s One Child Policy (Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993) 202 – 205

Chi An had the abortion.

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Women in China forced to take “Remedial measures”

A woman from China describes how birth permits were given to certain women describes how birth permits were given to certain women. Those who did not get a permit and became pregnant had to abort.

“The son and daughter-in-law of the cook who lived upstairs was not so well-connected. Their names did not appear on the red poster. [That announced those who received a quota to have a child. Chi An got one because of her mother and her mother’s connections]

My mother, who had long been friends with the cook’s wife, decided that she would go cheer up the young couple… She came back half an hour later looking distressed. “The daughter-in-law is already pregnant,” she said, shaking her head sadly. “She conceived 2 months ago. The baby is due in January. She and her husband were hoping that they would receive a quota so that they can keep this child. Now it is impossible. “The baby will not wait another 18 months to be born,” the cook’s wife told me.

“Her entire family is very upset,” Mother went on. “And I don’t blame them a bit. To tell someone to destroy a growing baby for lack of a quota seems unnecessarily harsh. But that is what the authorities will do, as soon as they find out the daughter-in-law’s condition. They will instruct her to take remedial measures.”…

“Remedial measures” was the standard official euphemism for abortion…

I was off the next day when my mother’s friend from the street committee dropped by. “Congratulations,” she said when I opened the door. “I came to give you your authorization to conceive and bear a child. We call it a Shengchan xuke zheng, a birth permit.” She handed me a pink slip of paper. “Be sure you keep the birth permit in a safe place,” she cautioned. “You will need to present it at the hospital when you go to have your baby. Otherwise the hospital will have to take remedial measures.”

Stephen W Mosher A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight against China’s One Child Policy (Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993)  171 – 172

“Remedial measures” is an extreme euphemism for abortion. A woman forced to take remedial measures would be given an abortion against her will and against the father’s will, if he wanted to have the baby.

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Chinese women taken from their homes, forced to abort

On China’s “one child” policy – China now allows 2 children, but forced abortions continue.

“Insider accounts of China’s family planning program have been rare – and are always published under pseudonyms – no doubt for fear of government reprisals…., a Chinese journalist (“Liu Yin”) was allowed to accompany the members of a family planning “task force” on a daily raid whose mission was to arrest eleven women who had become pregnant without authorization. Her account, which was published in a British newspaper, describes how five of the women were forcibly dragged from their homes in the middle of the night and taken to the county hospital. The other six had fled, but their families were warned that “if [the women] did not go to the abortion center within a week their houses would be pulled down. This was no bluff. On the way back from the raid, I saw six collapsed houses. No family in the village is allowed to provide shelter for the people whose houses had been destroyed.”

Later, the journalist visited the hospital itself, where she saw “hundreds of women – some more than six months pregnant –… packed in dark corridors and makeshift tents, waiting to be operated on in the “abortion center” in the hospital courtyard. Next to it was a public toilet. I went in: there was simply nowhere you could put your feet; it was filled with bloodsoaked toilet paper. Behind the toilets stood a line of waste–bins: the aborted babies – some as old as eight months – were put there, then dumped somewhere else.”

The Independent, September 11, 1991

Stephen W Mosher A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight against China’s One Child Policy (Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993)  x–xi

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4 1/2 Pound Chinese Baby Born Alive After an Abortion, Then Killed

In a 1995 article in Reader’s Digest, a young Chinese doctor describes her experience with a child aborted eight months into pregnancy. The baby was born alive, and:

“As the obstetrician in charge, I had the duty of ensuring that there were no abortion survivors. This meant an injection of 20 mL of iodine or alcohol into the soft spot of the infant’s head. It brings death within minutes.… Next to a garbage pail with the words “Dead Infants” scrawled on the lid was a black plastic garbage bag. It was moving, and cries were coming from the inside…

I had imagined a premature newborn, hovering between life and death. Instead, I found a perfect 4 1/2 pound baby boy, flailing his tiny fists and kicking his feet. His lips were purple from lack of oxygen.

Gently, I cradled his head in one hand and place the fingertips of the other on the soft spot. The skin there felt wonderfully warm, and it pulsed each time he wailed. My heart leapt. This is a life, a person, I thought.”

The doctor tried to save the baby boy, but another staff member later killed him.

Yin Wong, “a Question of Duty,” Reader’s Digest, September 1995: 65 – 70

One might think that such atrocities only take place in countries like China. However, babies are still aborted at this age in America, and many times they are in fact born alive. For some information about babies born alive after abortions in the USA, go here.

This story was taken from the book by James F Bohan. The House of Atreus: Abortion Is a Human Rights Issue (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 1999). (pgs 172-173)The author goes on to say:

“The Chinese doctor’s experience shows the powerful emotional impact of actually seeing the unborn. As an obstetrician, she knew what a child should look like At eight months after conception. But she did not decide to save the child when she heard how old it was, or even when she heard a cry. It was only when she actually saw and felt the child that she realized she could not kill it.”

Perhaps this explains why seeing the baby on the ultrasound screen is such a powerful experience both for women considering abortion and for abortion providers. Many women have changed their minds about abortions they wanted to have after seeing their child moving and kicking on the ultrasound screen. In addition, there’ve been a number of former abortionist and clinic workers who were converted when they saw a picture of the baby on the ultrasound screen during an abortion. Two of these are Abby Johnson and Joan Appleton.

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