Chinese sources have estimated an astonishing 13 million babies are aborted annually, but a new U.S. State Department report calculates the toll is 23 million, or 43 abortion deaths every minute.
Women’s rights activist Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, called the figure “truly staggering, incomprehensibly tragic.”
To put it in perspective, she noted that while China has four times the population of the United States, it has 23 times the number of abortions.
The U.S. State Department’s “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015” says it “continues to be illegal in almost all provinces for a single woman to have a child, with fines levied for violations.”
“The law mandates that family-planning bureaus conduct pregnancy tests on married women and provide them with unspecified ‘follow-up’ services. Some provinces fined women who did not undergo periodic state-mandated pregnancy tests,” the report says.
“Officials at all levels could receive rewards or penalties based on whether or not they met the population goals set by their administrative region. Promotions for local officials depended in part on meeting population targets. Linking job promotion with an official’s ability to meet or exceed population targets provided a powerful structural incentive for officials to employ coercive measures to meet population goals. An administrative reform process initiated pilot programs in some localities that removed this criterion for evaluating officials’ performance.”
The family-planning law states that officials should not violate citizens’ “lawful rights” in the enforcement of policy, but it doesn’t clearly define the rights or the penalties for violating them. By law, citizens may sue officials who exceed their authority in implementing birth-planning policy, but few protections existed for whistleblowers against retaliation from local officials. The law provides significant and detailed sanctions for officials who helped persons evade the birth limitations.
The State Department says China’s National Health Population and Family Planning Commission reported that 13 million women annually terminated unplanned pregnancies while an official news media outlet also reported at least an additional 10 million chemically induced abortions were performed in non-government facilities.
Government statistics on the percentage of all abortions that were non-elective was not available.
“The country’s fertility rate was far below replacement level, in part due to more than three decades of coercive population control policies and in part due to economic and social factors,” the State Department report says.
According to the U.N. Population Fund, the average fertility rate for women nationwide was 1.6, and in the country’s most populous and prosperous city, Shanghai, the fertility rate was 0.8.
WRWF cited from the report a case in which a woman claimed the government threatened the loss of her husband’s job as a police officer if she refused to abort their second child.
The State Department reports “markedly increased” repression and coercion in China.
WND has reported on the Chinese government’s change from a “one-child” to a “two-child policy” under certain circumstances. However, the penalties remain the same.
Littlejohn recently told the United Nations that the real “war on women” is being fought where forced abortion is triggering surges in suicide, breast cancer, an imbalance between men and women in society and a young population that is too small to sustain its senior citizens.
“This [battle] is beyond David and Goliath,” she said in remarks prepared for presentation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meeting recently. “It’s an enormous, long-term battle, but together, we can end forced abortion and gendercide and sweep these atrocities into the dung-heap of history, where they belong.”
Her organization runs several campaigns to counter the massive assault on women that often is sanctioned and sponsored by governments around the world.
She cited plans by the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women to review an earlier theme, “The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.”
The big gorilla in the room, she said, is the Chinese Communist Party’s restrictions on the number of children – first a one-child policy then updated recently to a two-child policy – which, Littlejohn said, makes essentially no difference because coerced abortion remains a government tool.
“The Chinese Communist Party boasts that it has ‘prevented’ 400 million lives through its brutal … policy. Indeed, regarding ‘sustainable development,’ the Chinese government has touted its ‘prevention’ of these 400 million lives as its contribution to the fight against global warming.”
But what the Chinese government “has not mentioned,” she told the U.N., “is the fact that too many of these lives were prevented through forced abortion and involuntary sterilization.”
“Human beings are not walking carbon footprints,” she said. “Forced abortion is not a choice. It is official government rape.
“The only way to end forced abortion under the one-child policy is to end coercive population control entirely,” she told the meeting.
Another problem she cited is gendercide, the deliberate targeting of women for abortion.
“For most of us, ‘it’s a girl’ is cause for enormous joy, happiness and celebration. But in many countries, this phrase can be a death sentence. In fact, the words ‘it’s a girl’ are the deadliest words on earth when said at the birth of a child,” she said.
In China, the sex ratio at birth has risen from 108.5 in 1982 to almost 118 boys born for every 100 girls born in 2010.
As a result, millions of Chinese men never will marry. The imbalance also contributes to the trafficking in sex slaves, critics point out.
Also, China’s abortion policies are causing a “senior tsunami,” with aging population with fewer young people to support it.
China’s population in the 55-64 age group, compared to 15-24, will increase from 30 percent in 1990 to 140 percent in 2030, she said.
“China will grow old before it grows rich,” she said. “China’s population problem is not that it has too many people, but that it has too few young people.”
Then there’s the higher risk of breast cancer in women who have had an abortion, according to studies.
One study, she said, “found that one [abortion] increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 44 percent, two by 76 percent, and three by 89 percent.”
“It is a woman’s right to choose to give birth to her daughters. Together, China and India comprise one third of the world’s population. That one-third of the world’s women are deprived of their right to bear girls is the biggest women’s rights abuse on earth. This is the true War on Women, and it deserves a passionate response from groups that stand for women’s rights,” she said.
The WRWF video on the abortion fight:
Littlejohn said the State Department’s newest report is significant not only for revealing the true death toll but “also the brutal methods of enforcement.”
“This report proves what advocates have been saying all along: coercion, forced abortion and involuntary sterilization continue unabated through 2015. They will continue under the two-child policy,” said Littlejohn. “Unmarried women and third children will still be forcibly aborted.”
The report said laws in 18 Chinese provinces require abortion, sometimes euphemized as “remedial measures,” for illegal pregnancies. Officials in the remaining 13 provinces also were found to have used forced abortion to meet birth limits.