Sept. 14, 2012 (UnmaskingChoice.ca) - Did a graphic image of an aborted baby take down China’s policy of forced abortion?

As the global pro-life community holds its breath in the wake of breaking news that China’s Population and Family Planning Commission has, according to Lillian Kwon of the Christian Post, “issued an order to ban the use of forced abortion when enforcing its one-child policy,” this appears increasingly likely.

Many of you will remember the forced abortion case in June that drew global attention of a seven-month pregnant woman named Feng Jianmei, who was severely beaten by Chinese “family planning officials,” coerced into signing a death warrant for her baby, and had her pre-born child brutally murdered by these officials by way of toxins injected into her daughter’s brain. A subsequent picture of Jianmei lying apparently unconscious on a hospital bed next to her daughter’s bloody corpse went viral on the internet thanks to websites such as LifeSiteNews.

The spokesperson for the pro-life group “All Girls Allowed,” Kat Lewis, credits this picture with bringing international attention to the atrocities perpetrated by Chinese officials on pregnant women and their pre-born children, which in turn placed “immense pressure” on the Chinese government.

“If there had been no graphic picture of her (Feng Jianmei), no media firestorm, no global outcry, and no anger voiced by social media users in China,” said Lewis, “then the central government might never have done anything.”

The Christian Post reported that All Girls Allowed has confirmed that “the order to end forced abortions, particularly late-term abortions, and sterilization was issued on August 30. The order came from the Population and Family Planning Commission in Beijing.”

While the Christian Post notes that the situation in China is still draconian and far from ideal—huge fines for those with a second child as well as other ramifications—this is a huge step forward. We hope and pray that at a minimum, the tragedy perpetrated against Feng Jianmei and her daughter will not repeat itself.

We as pro-lifers should all take a lesson from this great news—it was a picture that finally shook the apathy of the global community. It was a graphic image that outraged untold thousands. It was one photo that shook the Chinese government and probably led to their desertion of this heinous policy. The reason for this is simple: Once the injustice becomes visible, it inevitably becomes intolerable. What happened to Feng Jianmei was one horrifying incident in a string of bloody atrocities perpetrated by the thugs of Chinese officialdom against China’s women and children. What made her case different was that someone took a picture of it, and that picture awakened the consciences of the international community.

Now if only China, and indeed the international community that so rightly protested this barbarism, would realize that banning forced abortion is only the first step and not the last—for the picture which prompted their change of heart would look the same even if the abortion wasn’t forced.

We have seen the power of graphic visuals effect change a world away. Let’s go to work effecting change to save the precious pre-born children in our own communities, whose plight is still invisible to those who stroll past the killing centres that dot our landscape. Let us make them as visible as Feng Jianmei’s daughter was—and we will see pre-born children escape the fate that was meted out to her.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform.