China Has Not Banned Forced Abortion, Groups Insist
Some groups are rejecting reports that China has banned forced abortion, asserting that the abhorrent practice is still a reality. Any rhetoric coming out of the Chinese government that it will no longer force women to abort is just that – rhetoric, the groups say.
"WRWF (Women's Rights Without Frontiers) agrees that pressure is mounting to end forced abortion in China. However, to announce that the Chinese government has already banned it is, in our opinion, premature and inaccurate," the California-based coalition stated this week. "We need to keep the pressure on, not celebrate propaganda designed to take the pressure off."
WRWF, which fights forced abortion and sexual trafficking in China, was rejecting a report from the group All Girls Allowed. AGA, which also fights abortion in China, had announced last week that officials from China's Population and Family Planning Commission recently issued an order to end forced abortions, particularly late-term abortions.
AGA confirmed that with the family planning office in Chongqing. It also recently discovered that the same directive was announced in other provinces in China, including Fujian, Anhui, Inner Mongolia, Henan, and Shaanxi.
But WRWF believes it's all propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party, "designed to deflect the heat generated by the notorious forced abortion at seven months of Feng Jianmei in June 2012."
Feng Jianmei's case of being beaten and forced to abort her unborn daughter drew international attention and outcry.
WRWF argues that forced abortion is already outlawed in China – which enforces a one-child policy – but as recent cases have shown, it is still practiced.
Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, also issued a statement of concern Tuesday about "prematurely" announcing China's "end" to forced abortions.
He said he doesn't doubt that an order was issued by the Family Planning offices to ban forced abortion and sterilization. After all, he "expected that the Chinese government would engage in exactly this kind of damage control" following the outcry over Feng Jianmei, among other human rights cases.
"Forced abortions and other abuses won't end until the Chinese Party-State not only abandons the one-child policy, but abandons its Maoist-Marxist belief that it has the right to control the reproduction of human beings under a state plan," said Mosher.
All Girls Allowed said it recognizes that the government ban doesn't guarantee that forced abortions won't take place.
"The one child-policy remains brutal and coercive; girls are still aborted or abandoned ... the list goes on," Kat Lewis of AGA told The Christian Post.
But AGA still believes the latest order to end late-term forced abortion "is major progress."
"While China did have a law on the books in 2002 calling for officials to 'enforce the law in a civil manner,' this requirement allows for a much looser interpretation than Wang Xia's (of the National Population and Family Planning Commission) direct order to 'absolutely stop late-term abortions' in July, which was evidently backed up by a directive to provincial offices," AGA noted.
"The news from last week does not lessen the suffering of women like Feng Jianmei who have undergone forced abortions, and it does not nullify the fears of women right now who are concerned about a late-term forced abortion happening to them," it added. "But it does give them a reason to hope that things might change."
AGA maintains that China must be more accountable for human rights abuses now than it ever has been, given the media's attention and watchful public.
"The recent news shows that exposing cases like Feng Jianmei's has a major impact."