Communist China has performed an estimated 336 million abortions over the past four decades as part of its enforced family planning policy, according to figures recently released by the country's health ministry. The numbers were published in the March 15 Financial Times, which reported that since China first began “encouraging” couples to limit the size of their families, it has also performed 196 million sterilizations and has inserted 403 million intrauterine devices, “a normal birth control procedure in the west but one that local officials often force on women in China,” reported the Times.
While measured efforts to limit the size of families were first implemented in 1971, by the end of that decade the campaign had morphed into China's notorious one-child policy, with forced abortion and sterilization for couples who don't comply. The Chinese government has justified the policy by estimating that without such restrictions, the country's population of 1.3 billion would be 30 percent larger.
By comparison, in the United States, which has an estimated population of 315 million — a quarter the size of China's and smaller than the number of aborted Chinese babies — there have been an estimated 55 million abortions since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision effectively legalized abortion.
By Chinese government calculations, about 13 million babies are aborted in the country annually — or approximately 1,500 every hour. Under the government's oppressive policy, most Chinese couples are allowed only one child in most cases, while some minorities may be allowed more, and in some circumstances rural couples may be given permission for a second if the first child is a girl. The preference for male children has led to the overwhelming selective abortion of female babies, along with a severely unbalanced over-proportion of men to women.
Pro-life and humans rights leaders have been making a concerted effort to expose both China's horrific abortion tally, as well as its record of abuse against couples — especially women — in the enforcement of its one-child policy. Blind Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng made news last year when he fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in an attempt to escape to the West, following years of persecution and imprisonment for his documentation and exposure of forced abortions, sterilizations, and abuse of women and families at the hands of zealous Chinese population police.
Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, which monitors China's one-child policy and has documented its record of forced abortion and abuse, said the latest numbers come as no surprise. “The Chinese Communist Party announced in 2009 that they have 13 million abortions a year,” Littlejohn told LifeSiteNews.com, “so if you multiply that out over the span of the policy, 336 million would be a realistic approximation.”
She said that as brutal as the 336-million figure sounds, it does not tell the whole story of ruined lives, physical abuse, and even death of mothers whose babies have been forcibly aborted. “Of these 336 million abortions, how many women were dragged out of their homes, strapped to tables and forced to abort babies that they want, up to the ninth month of pregnancy?” she said to LifeSite. “How many women died as a result of these violent procedures? And of these 336 million abortions, how many were selectively aborted because they were girls?”
As a Stanford University doctoral student in China in 1980, Steven Mosher, now president of the pro-life Population Research Institute, was instrumental in helping to expose the large-scale practice of forced abortion that is part and parcel of China's one-child policy. “Having witnessed some of the 330 million abortions that the Chinese Communist Party has admitted performing on China's women,” he said in a statement, “I can attest to the fact that most of those abortions have the character of a rape. That is, they were performed on women who were ordered, or even physically forced, to submit to the knife.”
Mosher added that not only should people mourn for the hundreds of millions of pre-born babies executed under the policy, “but also for the women themselves whose bodies were violated, whose minds were scarred, and whose hearts were broken.”
He said that is no accident that “China's women have the highest suicide rate in the world, not to mention the highest rates of breast cancer, all in consequence of having had their babies killed in utero by a state ruthlessly bent on population control.”
According to the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, scores of studies have linked abortion rates to an increase in breast cancer.
U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.), one of the most pro-life members of Congress, said China's one-child, forced-abortion policy “is, in scope and seriousness, the worst human rights abuse in the world today. No other government policy anywhere else in the world systematically punishes, abuses, and violates women so grossly as this.”
He noted that the “brave pregnant woman who refuses to give in [to government intimidation] is usually detained and beaten — or, if she goes into hiding, her relatives are detained and beaten. Families that succeed in hiding an 'out-of-plan' pregnancy are punished with fines up to ten times the average annual income.”
Smith challenged China's insistence that it has toned down its forced abortions and violence against those who resist, noting that “this year there are reliable reports of large scale and violent abortion enforcement campaigns in Guangdong, Fujian, Yunnan, Zhejiang, and Jiangxi provinces.”
LittleJohn concurred with Smith, telling attendees at the recent United Nations Commission on the Status of Women that “the coercive enforcement of 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. Forced abortion — up to the ninth month of pregnancy — is official government rape. Forced sterilization and infanticide are crimes against humanity.”
She said that her group has issued a call to China's incoming president, Xi Jinping, “immediately to abandon all coercive population control and to end this bloody reign of terror.”