The recent 6–3 Supreme Court decision to remand decisions about abortions back to the purview of each state has put fertility and abortion rights center stage. Pro-life activists are celebrating the victory of seeing Roe v. Wade overturned, while pro-abortion activists feel that a terrible blow has been dealt to women’s rights.
I’m the youngest of nine children. I’m also Chinese. In China, you don’t have the luxury to debate about whether abortion is a necessary evil, a fundamental human right, or a sin. When you’re a woman in China, the state decides for you.
Using Abortion for ‘Family Planning’
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) calls abortion family planning. When I was born in the 1960s, Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China, believed it was women’s duty to the state to have as many children as possible. Chairman Mao wanted to increase the population because he needed a strong army to fight the Americans. So Mao encouraged women to give birth. I was born during the last wave of that pressure to procreate.
Then the CCP made an abrupt policy change. In the late 1970s, they decided that they had too many people in China. By 1980 they had implemented a one-child-only policy for the Han people, the majority ethnicity in China.
The brutality of this policy is difficult for anyone who grew up in the West to understand, I think. The CCP enforced its one-child policy by any means. This has included everything from demanding families to pay “social maintenance fees” that could catapult them into poverty to forcing women to abort their at-term fetuses; forcing sterilization on young, fertile women; and even burning down the houses of families that didn’t comply.
A Mechanized Weapon
The Chinese state’s birth planning was a mechanized weapon. The CCP’s National Population and Family Planning Commission employed 85 million people part time and half a million full time, according to journalist Mei Fong, author of the 2017 book, “One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment.” Many of these employees were essentially spies, tasked with tracking the fertility of their neighbors and reporting any suspicious behavior to the authorities. But that wasn’t all. Other state agencies, including the police, had internal units dedicated to “family planning.” If they found out that a woman was pregnant with a second child, the police would take her by force to an abortion clinic.
As Fong revealed in her book, in just one year—1983—the CCP forced 20 million women to undergo sterilization. That’s more than the population of the entire state of New York.
Some women who got pregnant by mistake or wanted a second child would try to get around the restrictions by going into hiding. Government officials would do everything they could to track them down. If they were caught, they would be forced to have late-term abortions. Post-natal infanticide was also a common practice.
“The doctors would inject poison directly into the baby’s skull to kill it,” one lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, from Linyi city in Shandong, now living in the United States, told a reporter last year.
Chen said that if the abortion failed or a family exceeded the one-child rule, “the doctors strangled or drowned those babies.”
My wife and I have a close friend named Lisa. Her daughter is 24, and her son is 22. She lives in Canada now, but her children were born in China. When she got pregnant for the second time, 22 years ago, she had to go into hiding. The family planning police went to all the places where they suspected she was hiding to try to find her. It was like a horror movie.
Her son was born a crime. He lived his young life as a non-registered person, which meant that he couldn’t go to school, until Lisa and her husband did well enough in business so that they had enough money to bribe school officials.
Lisa and her husband were the lucky ones. But they’re still traumatized by that experience, all these years later.
Pressuring Women to Have More Children
By 2013, the CCP had announced that 336 million abortions and 196 million sterilizations had been done under their one-child policies, according to The Guardian.
This brutality went on for decades.
Then in late 2015, the end of the one-child policy was announced. The CCP decided the population was declining and China needed more children. They backpedaled on the one-child policy. Starting in 2016, the Chinese government began allowing families to have two children. In fact, couples were pressured to have two children even when they only wanted one.
In a surprising move in May 2021, the CCP got even less restrictive. Premarital sex is shamed in China, as is abortion before marriage; but married couples in China were suddenly permitted to have up to three children.
There’s no choice in China. There’s no respect for human life. A woman’s body and her womb are tools for the CCP’s ideology—a way for them to exercise their power both domestically and internationally.
Your Body Is the Property of the Chinese State
In China, to this day, your body doesn’t belong to you. Your unborn child isn’t a sovereign being. Both your body and your child are the property of the state.
It’s important to be able to debate when life begins, the importance of choice, and whether each state should decide how to implement health care or if the central government should be in control. But those of us who have lived through and been terrorized by CCP policies want people in the West to know how much worse it could get.
Forced abortion and infanticide have no place in a free and fair democracy. Most people understand that. But with the increasing erosion of freedoms—often perpetuated by the so-called woke culture—the West may be heading down a slippery slope. The free world must not silence open discussion or clamp down on the right to protest and assemble openly. Whether you support life or choice, we must speak out against the barbaric practices of the CCP. Women’s wombs must not be weaponized.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.