China announced the arrest of ten gang members guilty of providing sex-selective abortions. The One-Child policy in China has led to a preference for male children over females. This has contributed to the abortion, killing, abandonment and trafficking of female children.
The gang worked out of a clinic in Zhengzhou since 2010. Pregnant women would come from around the country to determine the sex of their unborn child and then abort that child if they chose not to keep it. In 2013, more than 1,000 women sought the clinic’s services.
Amartya Sen, professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University commented on the practice of sex-selective abortions, writing “since the 1980s, the wide use of new techniques such as ultrasound scans for determining the sex of foetuses has led to huge and growing numbers of selective abortions of female foetuses… Selective abortion of female foetuses – what can be called “natality discrimination” – is a kind of high-tech manifestation of preference for boys.”
Sex determination has been illegal in China since the late 1980s because it facilitates sex-selective abortions of female fetuses and contributes to the uneven gender ratio seen today in China. As of 2013, there were 33.8 million more men (697.2 million) than women (663.4 million) due to the continued preference for male children.
The One-Child policy combined with the preference families have for boy children has also contributed to human trafficking. Up to 70,000 children are abducted annually and sold for adoption to families interested in having a son. Due to the strict laws restricting families to only one child, many would rather purchase a son than risk a pregnancy that might result in a daughter. Trafficking also affects women who are scarce in the country and therefore in high demand by men looking for wives.
Birth limitation policies in China also result in millions of forced abortions and sterilizations by the state each year. According to the China Health Ministry, more than 336 million abortions have taken place since the One-Child policy was enacted in 1979. Under the law, it is illegal to get pregnant without a permit and to have a second child without permission. People with money can pay a fine, but most women are at risk of being forced to terminate their pregnancies.
Gong Qifeng, a 25 year old woman, described her experience of a forced abortion 2 years ago. She was taken to a hospital and held down while labor-inducing drugs were injected into her abdomen. After nearly 35 hours of excruciating pain, her 7 month old child was born dead. “It was the pain of my lifetime, worse than the pain of delivering a child. You cannot describe it. And it has become a mental pain. I feel like a walking corpse,” she stated. Following this experience, Gong Qifeng was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
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