By Peter J. Smith

BEIJING, July 31, 2007 ( – For the first time China’s judicial system has accepted a “family planning” lawsuit from a woman who says that her forced abortion seven years ago has rendered her unable to bear children.

Caijing Magazine reports that a Chinese appeals court has agreed to hear the case of Jin Yani and her husband Yang Zhongchen. The couple is suing a local department of China’s State Population and Family Planning Commission, which forced Jin to undergo a brutal partial-birth abortion when she was 9 months pregnant.

Earlier in May, the Changli District Court had rejected Jin and Yang’s complaint filed against the Changli Population and Family Planning Department. However the Qinhuangdao Intermediate Court overturned the verdict and agreed to rehear the case, since family planning officials had withheld evidence that showed Jin’s abortion was involuntary.

According to the case, Jin and her husband were unable to obtain a timely “birth license” on account of marrying when Jin, then 20, was already more than 4 months pregnant. By the time Jin was eight months pregnant a family planning official, Di Weijun, had assured her husband Yang that he would be able to obtain the license on condition of paying a penalty.

Yang and his wife never received the license, but instead would pay a much harsher penalty than they had ever expected. On the evening of September 7, 2000, a detachment of Anshan county and Luojiaying village family planning officers arrived with no warning at the home of Jin and Yang with an order to carry out the abortion. The document was signed by none other than Di Weijun, the same man who had assured them that they could acquire the necessary license.

Yang was away, so the officers dragged Jin away to the Changli Family Planning Clinic were they aborted Jin’s baby by lethal injection. Since Jin was unable to deliver her deceased and almost born child, doctors then dismembered the baby, probing Jin’s womb with forceps, twisting and breaking the baby’s head before removing the body. 

Jin was later hospitalised for 44 days. In August 2001 Doctors at Tianjin Central Women’s Hospital confirmed Jin would never be able to have children again due to the forced abortion. Beijing experts would later conclude the same. 

Jin and Yang spent 7 years seeking justice until they met with Sun Maohang, a Beijing attorney who is representing the couple pro bono. Jin and Yang are seeking 290,000 yuan (38,300 USD) in compensation for medical expenses, 1 million yuan (132,000 USD) for psychological distress in addition to compensation for Jin’s infertility.

 “According to our understanding of the circumstances, I think this is the first instance of a planned pregnancy lawsuit admitted to the Chinese judicial system,” Sun Maohang told Caijing Magazine.

He added, “No matter what the outcome, the ability of this kind of case to enter the judicial system, the acceptance into the legal realm, is already progress.” readers can obtain the full story as published in Caijing Magazine here:


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