Despite Stalled Attention, Forced-Abortions Remain in China

Xinhua News, China’s premier state media outlet, recently tweeted an article titled “High Abortion Rate Triggers Fears for Young Women.” The article mentions terrible potential side effects of abortions: future ectopic pregnancies, bacterial infections, and sterility. The article does not mention, however, the state’s role in propagating such side effects through forced-abortions.

Certainly forced-abortions have become less of a problem in China over the last few years. Relaxing the One Child Policy in 2013 lessened the rampant problem. Yet as long as local government officials remain corrupt, and as long as China condones any policy that limits family size, forced-abortions will remain a problem in China.   

The Chinese government recently announced that an estimated 13 million abortions are carried out annually in the country. Chinese doctors are skeptical of the estimation, though. “Qi Rongyi, chief physician of the gynecology and obstetrics department at a hospital in Tianjin, said, ‘The number of abortions performed is believed to be higher. This is because the statistics were collected from registered medical institutions and do not include abortions carried out at unregistered clinics.’” The estimation is suspect for another reason, too. The estimation does not include the unknown amount of forced-abortions that the government fails to report for obvious reasons.

Although the international discussion of forced-abortions in China has quieted over the last few years, it must not be silenced entirely. Forced-abortions still occur in China, despite relaxed policies and the state-media’s silence.     

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The one-child policy (simplified Chinese: 计划生育政策; traditional Chinese: 計劃生育政策; pinyin: jìhuà shēngyù zhèngcè, officially translated as "family planning policy") is the population control policy of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It restricts urban couples to only one child, while allowing additional children in several cases, including twins, rural couples, ethnic minorities, and couples who are both only children themselves.