Chinese Abortion Practices: A Lesson for the West

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World Magazine’s recent expose titled “The Thirty Years War,” discusses, in gruesome detail, the appalling results of China’s one-child-only policy. In 1979, China’s powerful communist government established a policy to reign in its burgeoning population, allowing only one child to be born per family. If a woman is caught with an “unauthorized pregnancy,” she is often coerced or forced to undergo an abortion. Mass sterilizations are commonplace, and “undesirable” newborns are frequently abandoned and left to die. Among these “undesirables” are the deformed, the disabled, and the female. Most families desire healthy sons, and this attitude has led to a huge disparity in the populations of men and women. In 2005, it was reported that China had over 32 million more men than women under the age of 20.
Isn’t it ironic that abortion, often debated as a “woman’s right to choose” here in America, is deliberately used to take away women’s choice in China and numerous other countries? Women are being systematically singled out and exterminated in the womb, while many self-proclaimed “feminists” in the United States Congress (I.E. Barbara Boxer, among others) continue to defend the procedure used to do it. While many Americans find the issue of gender-selective abortions to be irrelevant, it most certainly is not. In fact, Columbia University released a study in 2008 reflecting a strong “son-bias” in American births as recently as the year 2000. Some states such as Oklahoma have enacted laws to combat gender-selective abortions, much to the chagrin of pro-choice women’s rights groups. One might wonder why these groups, which supposedly seek to promote gender equality, would get so up in arms about a bill that would protect against gender discrimination in the womb.
In addition to females, children with disabilities and deformities also become targets for termination and abandonment. Sadly, these practices are not restricted to China. A 2006 study by the National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register in the United Kingdom reported that 92% of women that receive a prenatal diagnosis for Down ’s syndrome choose to abort their child. The statistics for American births are just as disturbing, where an estimated 90% of babies diagnosed prenatally with Down’s are aborted. New statistics continue to emerge which suggest that children with even moderate deformities, such as a cleft palate or deformed feet, are being aborted at increasing rates.
These statistics send a strong message about the way that abortion has shaped societal attitudes. Rather than creating equality for women, abortion has merely enabled people to discriminate against women in vivo and act upon the widespread “son-bias.” Abortion also allows discrimination against the disabled and deformed, harkening back to the eugenics movement and the euthanasia efforts of early Nazi Germany. Abortion itself sends the message that there is nothing inherently sacred about human life. By removing the sanctity of life, it is then left up to debate what a human life is worth, and what lives are worth more than others. Is a grown woman’s life worth more than a developing child? Is a man more valuable than a woman? Are the disabled as valuable as everyone else? These questions, when left open to debate, lead to dire social consequences, as seen in China and other countries today. Without the basic right to live, all other rights simply fall by the wayside. It is essential for a civilized society to respect all human life equally, from conception to natural death.

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