China apologizes to woman who was forced to undergo late-term abortion
posted at 3:10 pm on June 16, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
And they, since they/Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.
—Robert Frost, “Out, Out—”
Officials in China have apologized to a woman who was forced to abort her fetus at seven months because she was in violation of that nation’s barbaric “one-child” policy.
After a shocking photograph of the woman, Feng Jianmei, lying next to the bloody corpse of her freshly aborted child went viral on the Internet, a wave of protest that began with anti-abortion groups in China rippled outward, eventually generating international outrage.
Besides an apology, Chinese officials have announced the suspension of three of the individuals responsible for forcibly restraining Feng and injecting her with an abortion-inducing chemical on June 2.
Local officials in Shannxi province, where the incident occurred, have also launched an investigation since Chinese law prohibits abortions beyond six months.
Feng’s nightmare began in late May, when local authorities who had learned of her pregnancy notified her that she was being assessed $6,200 in fines because she was already the mother of five-year-old daughter. When Feng responded that she was unable to pay because her mother-in-law needed all of the family’s available funds for cancer treatment, a team of 20 agents from the Orwellian-sounding “family planning department” showed up at her door. She was immediately placed under arrest and dragged kicking and screaming into a van headed for the hospital.
Once there, Feng told NBC, she was beaten, blindfolded, thrown on a bed, and forced to sign a document that she couldn’t read with the blindfold still on her eyes.
On June 4, Feng gave birth to a dead baby girl.
Initially, Chinese officials denied that Feng had been forced to abort. Li Yuongjou, deputy chief of Ankang’s family department, is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying, “A lot of us tried for days to educate her. She agreed to the abortion herself.”
But Feng strenuously denied this version of events, telling NBC, “No, I didn’t agree to do it. How can I agree to do that, as a mother?”
A report from Xinhua, China’s official government news agency, said that the Shaanxi Provincial Family Planning Committee has dispatched a team of investigators to Zengjiazhen. The report reads in part, “This has damaged the image of family planning work, and had an adverse effect on the society. The committee will resolutely prevent such things from happening again.”
The Daily Mail notes that Chai Ling of the U.S.-based activist group All Girls Allowed said Feng’s story demonstrates the extent to which China’s birth control policy sanctions violence against women.
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