A Mother’s Ordeal

You could call it the ultimate in workplace harassment. "If you want to keep your job," the woman was told, "you have to get an abortion." The country was China, and the woman's name was Chi An. Her story is told in a new book by Stephen Mosher called A Mother's Ordeal, a firsthand account of China's use of state coercion to enforce a rigid policy of one child per family-a program you will soon be supporting with your tax dollars. The story of Chi An gives the view from both sides: Not only was she forced to get an abortion herself, but as a nurse in a large state factory, she was also the enforcer for thousands of other women. Chi An's job was to make sure there were no unauthorized pregnancies. Every woman in the factory was required to post a record of her menstrual cycles on a public bulletin board. When women became pregnant illegally, Chi An ordered them rounded up and locked in dark storerooms. There they were subjected night and day to harsh "reeducation" tactics designed to break them down until they signed a form agreeing to having an abortion. Some women tried to escape the population police, hiding out with relatives. But Chi An would send armed soldiers to hunt them down. Even if the women managed to elude their pursuers during their entire pregnancy, that did not always save their babies. Doctors attending the birth would often strangle or drown the infant as soon as it was born. In larger cities the preferred method today is to inject formaldehyde into the brain while the baby is still in the birth canal. The stories are sickening, and when news of China's coercive practices first reached the West, the Reagan and Bush administrations cut off funding to any international family planning agencies that participated in coercive population-control programs. But in a recent turnaround, the Clinton administration announced that it will restore funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which for years was deeply involved in helping China run its one-child policy. The administration insists that the money will not go directly to abortion. But, of course, by giving any funding at all to the program, we give it moral sanction. We also free up other money within the program to support abortion. The administration has also granted $75 million to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which campaigns aggressively to legalize abortion in Third World countries. An administration official was quoted in news accounts saying that access to a whole "range of methods and services" related to family planning is a "fundamental human right." Nonsense. On the contrary, real fundamental human rights are being brutally violated in China-all in the name of family planning and population control. And you and I have a right to prevent our tax dollars from funding that brutality. The story of Chi An, at least, has a happy ending. Today she lives in the United States with her husband and her "illegal" second child. She has become a Christian, and has learned a profound truth: that children are a gift of God, not a commodity to be regulated by the state.


Chuck Colson


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