Restricting reproductive freedom is wrong in all directions — and China is a good example of what happens when you allow the state the right to decide how many children women can (and can’t) have.
A STORM of international protest is building over a Chinese ruling that a Muslim Uighur woman who is six months pregnant must have an abortion or lose her home.
Chinese authorities have ordered Arzigul Tursun, who is 26 weeks pregnant, to abort her unborn child because she has two other children.
She is under watch at the Municipal Watergate Hospital in Yining in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, which is populated heavily with Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority. Supporters are concerned a forced abortion at such a late stage could threaten Arzigul’s health.
Health concerns should be taken seriously, but that doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. This would be wrong even if the procedure was guaranteed to be safe.
According to the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, Arzigul and her husband, Nurmemet, fled their village when she became pregnant, but returned after officials warned their house and property would be seized if Arzigul did not have an abortion.
“We considered our two girls,” said Nurmemet. “If the house and properties were taken away, how would they live? So my wife came back and went to the hospital.”
Uighurs are cultural and religious minorities in China, and are often subject to persecution. Millions of women across China, regardless of minority status, are coerced or forced in abortion every year. Pro-choice groups and NGOs like the UNFPA have been working on the ground in China to try and allow women more options, and have been successful in lowering the rate of forcible and coerced abortion. But because their mission is a pro-choice one, supposedly “pro-life” groups have fought them every step of the way, and even succeeded in de-funding the UNFPA. So far Tursun’s abortion has been delayed because of international outcry, but even if she gives birth, her family faces a fine of more than $6,000 USD.
One of the only comments on the first linked article is particularly telling about the “pro-life” mentality:
Cant she just give the baby up for adoption????????
Because forcibly removing a wanted baby from a new mother is the solution here. The concern for life really does end at birth.
- This is what Anti-Choice Looks Like by Jill April 29, 2007
- Pro-Life? by Jill October 9, 2008
- “Pro-life” policies: Arresting new mothers by Jill April 17, 2007
- Pro-Choice Congressmen More Likely to Have Slutty Daughters by Jill June 18, 2007
- Abortion and Health Care: Is there common ground? by Jill August 10, 2009