She’s all about fighting the real war on women, the one that exposes one-fifth of the globe’s females to China’s one-child policy, which has fostered forced sterilization and abortion.
Reggie Littlejohn, a graduate of Yale Law School, has been called “a global champion for saving girls.”
In an exclusive interview with WND, Littlejohn spoke of the power of compassion mixed with activism that has helped put a spotlight on the practice. Her story shows how one determined person can make a difference in many lives.
Littlejohn was introduced to the human rights crisis in China in the mid-1990s, when she represented the asylum case of a Chinese refugee who was forcibly sterilized. She described this moment as her “wakeup call” to the reality of how horrific the situation in China and elsewhere is.
She said that “it was inconceivable to me in the 20th century that a nation practices forced sterilization.”
It was from that moment, the suffering of Chinese women “haunted me perpetually.”
Then in 2003, personal disaster struck. Breast cancer runs in her family, and she was infected with an MRSA staph infection “superbug” during surgery for bi-lateral mastectomies.
During what she describes as her “five dark years” from 2003 to 2008, she went from being a high-powered litigation attorney to lying flat on her back and begging God to spare her life. She began to pray for others who were suffering, especially the women of China who were being forcibly aborted or sterilized. She also began researching and analyzing the full array of terrible consequences of China’s one-child policy.
She appealed to God during this time, saying, “You made me a woman of action, what do you want me to do?”
As she began to recover in 2008, her expertise came to the attention of a Belgium-based organization putting on a conference on Chinese human rights at the European Parliament.
She was invited to deliver an address to the group, and while there, she was astonished to learn that she was the first person ever to address the European Parliament on the one-child policy.
She was told by other human rights activists that no one in the West had dedicated her life to this issue.
‘Biggest women’s rights violation in the world’
“The one-child policy is the biggest women’s rights violation in the world. One out of every five women on earth lives under the threat of forced abortion or involuntary sterilization. If no one else had dedicated their life to these women, I determined that I would,” said Littlejohn.
She soon founded Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and assumed the mantel of a leader of the movement in the West to raise awareness of the horrors of China’s one-child policy.
In a video, she talked about the forced abortion procedures that sometimes kills both baby and mother.
See her testimony:
The policy, in effect since 1979, is aimed at curbing the population in urban centers by limiting families to one child.
There are estimates 400 million babies have been aborted because of the limit and hundreds of thousands of women forcefully sterilized.
Littlejohn said “the centerpiece of the policy is not that they [women] can have children, but rather it is the point that the state tells women what they can and cannot do.”
There have been some horrific side effects. It is noted in China now there are 37 million “extra” men, because parents often abort baby girls by choice, creating a gender imbalance.
Littlejohn says that this imbalance is a consequence of “gendercide.” In Chinese culture, boys are valued more than girls, hence when parents, who can only have one child, discover they are having a girl, often the girl is aborted in the hope of having a boy.
Littlejohn says that “because of the traditional preference for boys, the gender imbalance is driving sex trafficking into China to help offset this balance as forced brides or prostitutes [from] Mongolia, Vietnam, North Korea.”
“Women’s Rights Without Frontiers is an international coalition to combat forced abortion, gendercide and sex slavery in China,” she says.
The group plays two main roles. It serves as an agency of education to help raise awareness throughout not just the United States but also worldwide. And it tries to help mothers-to-be in China.
Littlejohn notes WRWF does not receive any financial support from any government and that in order to get WRWF started, she and her husband sold their home.
But she’s spoken six times before Congress, twice at the European Parliament and at both British and Irish parliaments as well.
Her most significant legislative accomplishments have been in Europe, where, despite the massive pro-abortion trend of the EU parliament, “there are many MPs and MEPs that are in support of my message.”
She humorously recalled that she received support from a “pro-choice anarchist” and “knew then my message would be strong.”
Her work in the EU parliament led to strong support for the adoption of a resolution condemning forced abortion in China. Additionally, the EU amended its resolution to make sure that the aid money the EU sends to China’s population control program would not be used for coercion of women to get abortions against their will.
The U.S. Congress is lagging on this issue, she said.
But she noted the controversy spans the usually unbridgeable gap between the pro-life and pro-abortion movements.
“The issues of forced abortion and gendercide are unique and that whether you are pro-choice or pro-life nobody supports forced abortion,” she said.
The great success and sense of accomplishment in her work has not come without consequences.
“There have been cases of my computer being broken into by sources identified coming from China,” she said.
And she’s been blacklisted from entering China.
“This is unfortunate,” she said. “I was in China years ago. I really wanted to go to Tibet right after it was opened up for international travel. I traveled by train to Tibet, and I wanted to go back again.”
She now has launched the “Save a Girl” campaign.
“We are ending forced abortion and gendercide in China, one baby at a time,” Littlejohn she said.
The U.N. estimates there are up to 200 million women missing in the world today due to gendercide, the sex-selective elimination of baby girls. China has the most skewed sex ratio at birth of any nation in the world: 120 boys born for every 100 girls, due to sex-selective abortion.
WRWF gives monthly support for a year to mothers who are at risk of aborting or abandoning their baby girls. The money helps mothers feed and care for their daughters and resist pressure to abort or abandon them.
Littlejohn reported that one of the cases involved a baby born to poor farmers. The father wanted a son and was pressuring his wife to leave the baby out in the field to die. WRWF began giving monthly support, which persuaded the father to keep the girl.
The mother’s wrote the organization: “You saved my daughter’s life. Thanks to you and your organization.”
WRWF also gives monthly support for a year to support women who are pregnant without a birth permit and are hiding or running to escape forced abortions.
“Our long-term goal is to end gendercide and forced abortion in China. … We are also changing hearts and minds by demonstrating that girls are valuable. One common reaction to our support is astonishment that anyone would give money to save a girl.”
Need to awaken
For all of her work in Europe, Littlejohn still fights for an awakening in America.
“The problem is … the propaganda of the Chinese media that corrupts the debate and the Western media buys into it their propaganda.”
The biggest problem with America is not that anybody opposes her work “but rather the reaction is just silence.”
The apathy, she said, was highlighted recently in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement that the discussion of human rights should not interfere with the U.S.’ economic relationship with China.
She also notes the lack of feminist support for her message.
“NOW, NARAL, the Center for Reproductive Rights … none of them has jumped on board,” she said.
Littlejohn cited a recent comment byTed Turner that the U.S. needs a similar program.
“People need to see what it [the one child policy] looks like to prevent it from coming here,” she said.
Some believed the new Chinese premier, Xi Jinping, would be a reformer and would improve the human rights situation in China, but Littlejohn is less optimistic.
And she said on an international level, one day she “would love to get the forced abortion declared a crime against humanity.”
She said there always are opportunities for people to help, including donations to the WRWF work.
“It is shocking to see how little money it takes to save a life.”