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Forced abortions in China have commonly been practiced for breaching the one-child policy. Hundreds of women are forced into late-term abortions every year. Two years ago, Xiao Ai Ying was forced to abort her eight month-old fetus; her story has been documented by al Jazeera news and shared on youtube. This year, a similar case triggered outrage in China as a picture of the 23-year-old Feng Jianmei lying on a bed, with the corpse of her baby by her side went viral online.
Similar to Ying, Jianmei was forcibly injected with a lethal chemical to induce an abortion. Deng Jiyuan, Jianmei’s 29-year-old husband, told CNN, “I’m angry and want justice; they forced her to abort our seven-month-old child, do they deserve to be called Communist Party officials who served the people?”
According to Malcom Moore of the Telegraph, the couple, as farmers, was allowed to have a second child under Chinese law, given the permission of their Local Family Planning bureau. Three months along with her pregnancy, Jianmei was asked by officials to fill out an application form, pay a fee, and change her Chinese registration permit to reflect that she lived in a rural area. The couple failed to fill out the form and could not pay 40,000 yuan ($6,300 USD).
“It should not be a cent less than that (40,000 yuan),” read a text message, allegedly sent to Deng Yan, Jiyuan’s sister by Yuan Fang, a family planning official. When the couple informed the officials they weren’t able to raise enough money, Jianmei was taken from her home on May 30 and given a lethal injection on June 2.
Al Jazeera news reported that Jianmei told Ms. Chai Ling, the founder of All Girls Allowed, an advocacy group focused on protecting women’s rights in China, that she never agreed to the forced abortion. According to Ling, Jianmei was held down by five strong men with a pillow case over her head and was forced to press her finger with ink and paste it on the form. Jianmei gave birth to her dead child 36 hours after she was injected.
The abortion took place at the Zhenping County Hospital. Authorities in the province have admitted that the abortion was illegal. The pictures that angered Chinese web users was taken by A San, Jianmei’s cousin, and shared online on June 11, a week after the forced abortion.
China has been implementing family planning policies since the late 1970s in order to control the population growth rate, which is currently up to 1.3 billion people, the world’s largest.