Horrific stories about forced abortion are common in China. The nation's controversial one-child policy has traditionally been upheld by savagely forcing women to abort their babies if, indeed, they become pregnant after already having a child.
With the rest of the world learning more about the horror, international pressure has mounted for the country's leaders to abandon the controversial policy. Now, in a surprising move, Chinese officials are finally calling for an end to the practice.
The Christian Post is reporting that China's Population and Family Planning Commission has ordered that all forced abortions related to the nation's one-child policy be ceased -- a move that is being heralded as a step in the right direction when it comes to human rights. The move comes after one story, in particular, went viral in June.
Earlier this summer, Feng Jianmei, a Chinese woman who was forced to abort her child, made international headlines. Her story may very well be the catalyst that led the nation to re-consider its stance. As TheBlaze's Tiffany Gabbay reported, Jianmei was savagely beaten by family planning officials, dragged into a vehicle, and taken to an undisclosed location where she was forced to undergo an abortion. The woman was seven months pregnant at the time.
An image of Jianmei laying next to her aborted child in what appears to be a hospital bed was widely published. While TheBlaze chose not to show it due to its graphic nature, LifeSite News has it here. This, of course, is only one example of the tragedy that has continually unfolded in China.
The government's new pledge to stop the practice of forced abortion is being met by human rights advocates as a positive development. Chai Ling, founder of the group All Girls Allowed, an organization fighting gendercide in China, called the move "awesome progress."
"When God told Moses that the Red Sea would part, it did. Last year a prophecy was given that God would end the One-Child Policy in China, and I rejoice that God is already doing it," a statement issued by Ling reads. "The media's exposure of this injustice has been invaluable, and people in China and around the world are standing boldly against injustice. This has made China understand that they can no longer hide the brutal truth."
The Christian Post has more about the changes that have unfolded:
All Girls Allowed confirmed with the family planning office in Chongqing that the order to end forced abortions, particularly late-term abortions, and sterilization was issued on Aug. 30. The order came from the Population and Family Planning Commission in Beijing.
In July, during the commission's semiannual meeting, Minister Wang Xia had called upon policy enforcers to "absolutely stop performing late-stage abortions," saying they should only "guide people to do family planning voluntarily," according to All Girls Allowed.
"This contrasts starkly with earlier family planning statements in China, which have called for mandatory abortion as a 'remedial measure' and encouraged enforcers to 'spare no effort' in terminating the pregnancies of women who lacked birth permits," said the human rights group.
Considering the elements at play, it's surprising that China has continued its one-child policy for so long. He Yafo, a demographics analyst, recently told The New York Times about the issues facing the nation, which has a population of 1.3 billion.
"An aging working population is resulting in a labor shortage, a less innovative and less energetic economy, and a more difficult path to industrial upgrading," Yafu explained.
Despite the advance, abortions will likely continue in China, a nation that terminates 13 million pregnancies each year. The government still has other mechanisms to keep families from growing. Huge fines for additional children is one of the methods that is used to control the population, The Christian Post reports.
In one example, Xiao Zheng and Xiao Guo fined $11,000 -- several times the couple's annual income -- after they had their second child. Considering these constraints and the recent move to end forced abortions, which were previously on the books in 18 of the nation's 31 provinces, it will be interesting to see what China does next.
(H/T: The Christian Post)