LifeSiteNews: A woman who endured three coerced abortions at the hands of “family planning” officials in China has opened up about her guilt and sorrow following the deaths of her three unborn children, and the suffering all Chinese women face as a result of the communist government’s draconian one child policy.
In an article for the China Aid website, Jinghong Cai, now a Ph.D. student in the United States, shared her personal story of grief and redemption, and shed light on the governmental and cultural pressure women undergo when it comes to pregnancy in the communist nation.
“The first time I was forced to have an abortion because I did not apply for the government’s permit to get pregnant,” Jinghong wrote. “My department secretary in charge of family planning told me that it was better for me to have a secret abortion than being reported and then punished.”
“Of course, she was not being kind to me or anything,” wrote Jinghong. “The reason she asked me to have a secret abortion was that if I was punished for breaking the family planning law, the university would receive a stern warning, even a hefty fine, and the university leaders would have to submit a letter of ‘remorse’ for negligence and dereliction of duty!”
Jinghong later went through official channels and received permission to become pregnant. She gave birth to a baby boy. But soon, she found herself again at the mercy of the family planning police.
“After my son was born, I got pregnant again, and for the same reason I had a second abortion,” recounted Jinghong. “After that, the doctor recommended that I use a Copper-T IUD, a type of long-acting, reversible contraception. Unfortunately, this device, considered one of the most effective forms of birth control, was disposed of by my body unbeknownst to me. I got pregnant again. For the same reason, I had another abortion.”
“As a Christian, I know that God has forgiven me, but for years, I carried with me the pain, shame and guilt of having snuffed out three precious lives,” Jinghong wrote. Soon after her baptism in 2012, “I confessed my sin of abortion to God [and] had a blissful dream—three young children giggling joyfully, playing hide and seek, running around a smiling man in a long, white robe. I knew I was forgiven.”
Jinghong says that aside from her conversion to Christianity, her story is far from unusual in China.
“My story is not unique; it is the story of millions of Chinese women,” wrote Jinghong. She recounted the story of her aunt, who gave birth to three girls in violation of the one child policy before finally having a son, risking “harsh and extreme” punishment by the authorities.
“One morning in June [of 1985],” recalled Jinghong, “the police drove a big truck into my aunt’s village and forced all married women to jump on the truck. Many of them were middle-aged, had already had children, and were not even pregnant. The police told them that they would undergo a medical checkup at the hospital, but once there, they all were forcedly sterilized.”
Jinghong’s aunt was one of those who underwent the mandatory procedure. Complications from the surgery almost caused her to bleed to death.
“The Western, liberal ideologists may question why they wanted to have a son so badly that they broke the government’s law time and again,” Jinghong wrote. “According to Chinese tradition, it is almost a religious belief that a son is the best heritage of a family, and the male heir is like the family’s flame of the incense, passing on his ancestor’s spirit from generation to generation. Wives often feel ashamed and guilty if they cannot give birth to a son.”
Indeed, the one child policy has led to what some human rights activists have called a “gendercide” against females in China. Chinese girls are frequently aborted, killed at birth, or abandoned by their families, who think that if they are only permitted to raise one child, it should be a son.
Based on statistics from a 2009 study in the British Medical Journal, it has been estimated that there are only five girls born in China for every six boys as a result of sex-selective abortion, infanticide, or exposure. Approximately 1.1 million fewer girls are born every year. As a result, there are currently 37 million more males than females living in China, and the gender imbalance continues to grow.
According to Jinghong, it will take much more than a policy change to roll back the widespread practice of abortion in China. She says that decades of systematic coercion and propaganda campaigns have left their indelible mark on the psyche of an entire nation.
“Forced abortion means it is never a ‘choice’ for women in China,” Jinghong wrote. “However, people in China are so blind about this fact that they accept forced abortion as a natural and normal act, and even automatically engage in helping the government with its propaganda.”
“A middle-aged woman, a Communist Party member from the university where I used to teach, often told foreign tourists that the whole world should thank China for the forced abortion policy, ‘for we contribute to the world by sacrificing ourselves.’”
“In China, abortion is as common as children having their tonsils taken out,” wrote Jinghong. “Nobody connects abortion with murder. The government’s policies have created a culture of disrespect for life and dignity, with millions of babies (some up to 9 months gestation) forcedly aborted.”
Jinghong credits her faith with allowing her to accept the truth about abortion, as well as forgive herself.
“Many in communist China and across the world reject the notion of abortion as murder; I had three forced abortions—I found God; I know better.”