BEIJING, March 26, 2014 ( – First Lady Michelle Obama has opted not to discuss China's one-child policy or sex-selective abortion during her trip to the Far East.

Beijing enforces draconian population control measures through mandatory abortions and sterilization for millions of women who have had one child. Population police have been known to kidnap pregnant women off the street and force them into late-term abortions, sometimes requiring payment for services rendered.

Mrs. Obama's silence has outraged human rights activists.

“Previous first ladies have used their positions of influence to speak out for human rights in this totalitarian regime,” said Reggie Littlejohn of Women's Rights Without Frontiers.

As First Lady, Hillary Clinton in 1995 gave a speech at the Fourth Women's Conference on September 5, 1995. Hillary couched her rhetoric in terms of choice.

“It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will,” she said.

Clinton remembered the incident 13 years later, saying she spoke out “because I believed that we needed to bear witness against what was an intrusive, abusive, dehumanizing effort to dictate how women and men would proceed with respect to the children they wished to have.”

Mrs. Obama, by contrast, told the Chinese how long she rode the school bus as a child and pointed to her husband's election as proof that America had partially overcome its racist past.


Obama's silence on forced abortion and sex-selective gendercide concerned and dispirited Littlejohn.

“As the mother of two children, Mrs. Obama could have spoken out against forced abortion under the one-child policy,” she said today. “As the mother of two daughters, she could have taken aim also against gendercide – the sex-selective abortion of baby girls.”

“Instead, Mrs. Obama has chosen to ignore the intense suffering of hundreds of millions of women who have been victims of forced abortion, involuntary sterilization, gendercide, and sexual slavery,” Littlejohn said. “These choices seriously undermine any claim that she is a champion of women's rights.”

The Obama administration has ratified the policy with its comments during previous visits.

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Vice President Joe Biden told students at Sichuan University in August 2011, “Your policy has been one which I fully understand—I’m not second-guessing—of one child per family.”

He added Americans may be able to “learn together” from China's population control experiment. “Hopefully, we can act in a way on a problem that’s much less severe than yours, and maybe we can learn together from how we can do that,” he said.

The administration later said that Biden was, in fact, criticizing the policy with his remarks.

“This wasn’t ignorance and it wasn’t a gaffe,” Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute (PRI) said. “Biden wanted China’s communist leaders to know that he and the president he serves are more than willing to turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed in the name of the one-child policy.”


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