The 1995 Beijing Platform calls for an end to violence against women, including “Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated by the State, wherever it occurs.” Paragraph 113(c). Forced abortion constitutes such violence, and yet in the 20 years since the Beijing Platform, forced abortion continues in China. In addition, Paragraph 277(c) calls governments and NGOs to “eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl child . . . such as prenatal sex selection and female infanticide . . . ” and yet these practices are rampant in China and India.
At the 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference, former First Lady Hillary Clinton boldly proclaimed, “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights – and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.” Yet, no substantial progress has been made to eliminate forced abortion or gendercide since the Beijing Conference. Much work remains to be done and the elimination of forced abortion and gendercide should be front and center in all discussions regarding progress of women’s rights (or the lack thereof) in Beijing +20.
It is ironic that the UN is discussing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action — focusing on gender equality and empowerment of women — while blatantly ignoring China’s own intentional, governmental subjugation of women and girls as expressed through the coercive enforcement of the One Child Policy. An event discussing forced abortion and gendercide in China should be held as one of the Plenary Sessions before all delegates, rather than relegated to various “Side” and “Parallel” events? Is this an indication that China is so powerful at the U.N. that even the UNCSW is willing to turn a blind eye to the biggest women’s rights violation on earth and in the history of the world?
China Will Not Abandon the One-Child Policy, Despite Reports
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has recently stated that China is considering a further reform
of the hated One Child Policy, giving rise to news reports with titles such as, “Is China Going to Abandon the One Child Policy?” My answer to that is an emphatic: No, China is not going to abandon the One Child Policy.
The Chinese government sees the two-fold demographic disaster caused by the One Child Policy. First, the policy has caused a dangerously skewed gender imbalance in which there are 37 million more men living in China today than women. Second, China does not have enough young people to support its quickly aging population.
In my opinion, the Chinese Communist Party will likely announce that soon, all couples can have a second child. But this will not be the end of the One Child Policy. Women will still need a birth permit for the first and the second child. Without this permit, they will still be subject to forced abortion. The core of the policy is not the number of children the Chinese government will allow women to have. The core of the policy is that the Chinese government is telling women how many children they can have, and enforcing that limit through forced abortion, forced sterilization, and forced contraception – the mandatory insertion of IUDs.
The One Child Policy does not need to be reformed. It needs to be abolished. Women’s Rights Without Frontiers demands that the Chinese government cease to interfere with each family’s decision on how many children they will have. We demand an end to government sponsored forced abortion, forced sterilization, forced contraception, pregnancy checks and tracking of women’s menstrual cycles. The entire, vast network of Family Planning Police must be dismissed.
The women of the world will be free only when the women of China are free.
“It’s a Girl” – The Deadliest Words in the World
For most of us, “it’s a girl” is cause for enormous joy, happiness and celebration. But in many countries, this phrase can be a death sentence. In fact, the words, “it’s a girl” are the deadliest words on earth when said at the birth of a child. According to one U.N. estimate, up to 200 million women are missing in the world today due to “gendercide,” the selective abortion, abandonment or deadly neglect of baby girls just because they are female.
On September 18, 2014, it was reported that a student at Linyi University had given birth in a university bathroom and had abandoned her newborn daughter in the toilet pipe.
In March 2015, the photo went viral of a father and daughter handcuffed together as they traveled together to visit family for the Chinese new year. The father sought to protect his daughter from child trafficking, because girls are in such short supply.
This is not a pro-choice or a pro-life issue. This is a human rights issue that must be approached as an area of common ground. No one supports the systematic elimination of women and girls.
Forced Abortion and Gendercide Are Not a Choice. They are the true “War against Women.” Forced abortion is not a choice. It is official government rape.
The Chinese Communist Party boasts that it has “prevented” 400 million lives through its brutal One Child Policy. That is a greater number than the entire population of the United States and Canada combined. Each one of these 400 million lives “prevented” is a victim of communism. This is the hallmark of communist regimes: the peace-time killing of their own citizens.
China Has Not ‘Eased’ Coercive Population Control Under it’s One Child Policy. These atrocities continue to this day.
To learn more about forced abortion in China, watch STOP FORCED ABORTION, CHINA’S WAR ON WOMEN http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/?nav=stop-forced-abortion
More often than not, gendercide is not a choice either. There is a strong correlation between sex-selective abortion and coercion. Crushing social, economic, political and personal pressures in cultures with a strong son preference trample women carrying girls. All too often, women in these cultures do not “select” their daughters for abortion. They are forced.
To learn more about sex-selective abortion in China and India, watch the trailer to the IT’S A GIRL documentary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISme5-9orR0
In China, the birth ratio of girls to boys is the most skewed in the world. The sex ratio at birth has risen from 108.5 in 1982 to almost 118 boys born for every 100 girls born in 2010. India is not far behind.
Sons traditionally carry on the family name, work the fields, and take care of their parents in old age. A daughter joins her husband’s family at marriage. There is a saying: “Raising a girl is like watering someone else’s garden.” The One Child Policy exacerbates the underlying son preference. When couples are restricted to one child, women often become the focus of intense pressure by their husband and in-laws to ensure a boy.
A woman need not be dragged out of her home and strapped down to a table to be a victim of forced abortion. Persistent emotional pressure, estrangement from the extended family, threat of abandonment or divorce, verbal abuse, and domestic violence often overpower women who otherwise would choose to keep their daughters.
Systematic, sex-selective abortion constitutes gendercide. Because of this gendercide, there are an estimated 37 million more men than women in China today. The presence of these “excess males” is the driving force behind human trafficking and sexual slavery, not only within China but from surrounding nations as well.
China has the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world. According to the 2013 U.S. State Department China Human Rights Report, the numbers of female suicides have risen sharply in the past several years, from 500 women per day to 590.
China’s One Child Policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth and any other official policy in the history of the world. This is the true “War Against Women.”
UNCSW’s Agreed Conclusions Condemned Forced Abortion; They Need to Condemn Gendercide
The UNCSW’s topic for 2013 was “Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls.”
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers was honored to make four presentations about forced abortion and gendercide in China at the UNCSW in 2013. We forcefully argued that there is no greater violence against women than forced abortion, up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Women themselves sometimes die as a result of these violent procedures. There is no greater violence against girls than gendercide, which has claimed up to 200 million lives of girls selected for abortion solely because they are girls.
We achieved a partial victory and commend the following language from 2013’s “Agreed Conclusions”:
34. The Commission urges government, at all levels, and as appropriate, with the relevant entities of the United Nations system, international and regional organizations . . . to take the following actions:
. . . .
(aaa) Condemn and take action to prevent violence against women and girls in health-care settings, including . . . forced medical procedures, or those conducted without informed consent, and which may be irreversible, such as forced hysterectomy, forced caesarean section, forced sterilization, forced abortion, and forced use of contraceptives . . .
These Agreed Conclusions represent an acknowledgement that forced medical procedures are a form of violence against women and call for an international condemnation of such procedures.
While the Agreed Conclusions condemn coercive family planning in the form of forced medical procedures, they take no stand on gendercide, the sex-selective abortion, abandonment and fatal neglect of baby girls. If the UNCSW stands for women’s rights, it must take a stand against the selective abortion of up to 200 million baby girls. We call upon them to do so in the Agreed Conclusions for 2015.
WRWF Calls for an Investigation of UNFPA
The UNCSW, moreover, should follow its own advice to “condemn and take action to prevent violence against women . . .” by thoroughly investigating the activities of the UNFPA in China. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell found the UNFPA to be complicit with coercive family planning in China. WRWF believes that any independent investigation of the UNFPA’s current practices would arrive at the same conclusion.
Forced Abortion in China Is Linked to Breast Cancer in Women and Low Birth Weight, Increased Chance of Death in Subsequent Pregnancies.
TIANJIN, CHINA. A medical study from China has revealed an additional way in which women are victimized by the One-Child Policy: significantly increased risk of breast cancer.
Researchers in China have found that the dramatic rise in breast cancer in China is associated with the prevalence of induced abortions (IA) under the One-Child Policy. The study, conducted by a team of epidemiologists from Tianjin Medical University Cancer Hospital, analyzed data from over 36 different studies in both the United States and China.
“IA [is] significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer among Chinese females, and the risk of breast cancer increases as the number of IA increases.” Specifically, the study found that one IA increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 44 percent, two by 76 percent, and three by 89 percent.
The study notes that historically, China has had low breast cancer rates when compared with Western nations, but “the incidence of breast cancer in China ha[s] increased at an alarming rate over the past two decades.” The study notes that this rise “was paralleled to the one-child-per-family policy.”
In our view, the strong association of abortion and breast cancer established by this study brings the women’s rights violations under the One Child Policy to a new level: a woman pregnant in China without a birth permit is subjected to both government imposed forced abortion, and also breast cancer as a result of it. Where abortion is forced, the subsequent development of breast cancer becomes a violation of women’s rights in itself. “China: One-Child Policy Linked to Breast Cancer – Study.” http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=1428. 12/2/13
Forced Abortion in China Correlates with Low Birth Weight, Increased Chance of Death in Subsequent Pregnancies
A dissertation submitted to the University of Hong Kong found that children in China are more likely to face serious health complications, including death, if their mothers have had multiple induced abortions. The study concluded that having more than one abortion increases the risk of low birth weight in subsequent pregnancies. Indeed, women who have had three or more induced abortions are at five times the risk of preterm birth in a subsequent pregnancy.
The study, conducted by Cui Limin, explained that nearly two thirds of neonatal deaths are related to low birth weight. For children surviving infancy, LBW increases the risk of neuron-developmental problems, respiratory tract infections, and behavioral problems. According to the study, those with very LBW suffer from conditions including cerebral palsy, blindness, impaired hearing and learning disabilities. Besides harming the child, these health problems put extra financial strain on parents, the study noted.
Women in China are forced into induced-labor abortions, up to the ninth month of pregnancy. In our view, this is a violation of women’s rights of the first degree. We are now learning that these forced abortions also put their future children at risk for respiratory complications, cerebral palsy, and even death related to low birth weight. They also may damage a woman’s future reproductive and general health. This is a violation of the women’s rights and the rights of their future children. Forced abortion must be stopped, and families should be compensated if their children experience health problems caused by previous induced labor forced abortions.
According to the study, 14.37 million induced abortions were performed in 2012 – one quarter of the abortions in the world — many of which were repeat abortions. The study credited the One-Child Policy as “one of the most important factors for the increased induced abortion rate,” and cited the prevalence of forced and sex-selective abortions in China.”
There Is Hope: Our “Save a Girl” Campaign
Fortunately, there is hope. Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has launched the “Save a
Girl” Campaign in rural China, and we are stopping gendercide, one baby girl at a time. We have field workers in China who reach out to women who have had an ultrasound, learned that they are pregnant with a girl, and are planning to abort or abandon her. A field worker will visit that woman and say, “Don’t abort your baby just because she’s a girl. She’s a precious daughter. We will give you a monthly stipend for a year, to help you support her.” The practical support we offer empowers these women to keep their daughters.
We are also living the mission every day, around our own kitchen table. With the help of Cong. Chris Smith, Jing Zhang, Hu Jia and other brave souls in the United States and China, we were able to obtain safe passage from China to the United States for Anni and Ruli Zhang, the daughters of veteran pro-democracy activist Zhang Lin, who is currently serving a 3.5 year jail sentence for standing up for 10-year-old Anni’s right to go to school. My husband Robert and I have taken Anni and Ruli into our family and are raising them as our own daughters.
Every struggling mother in China and India deserves help to keep her daughter. Together, we can end forced abortion and gendercide and sweep these atrocities against women into the dung-heap of history, where they belong.
Learn more about the “Save a Girl” campaign:
WRWF thanks the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN, as well as the NGOs co-sponsoring the UNCSW events at which she is speaking: Endeavour Forum, Family Research Council, C-Fam, Eagle Forum and the Population Research Institute.
China plans further changes to one-child policy 3/15/15
Is China Going to Abandon the One-Child Policy? 3/9/15