Editor’s note: Today is International Women’s Day. LifeSiteNews brings you the gripping story of a first-time mom whose baby was forcibly aborted in 2013 under China’s One Child Policy because the mom was unmarried. The story was first featured on Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and is used here with permission. It has been edited.
CHINA, March 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — My name is Yue Zhang, I was born in Nanjing City in China’s Jiangsu Province in 1985. At the end of August 2013, I felt nauseous and uncomfortable. I thought I was sick and went to the hospital for a check-up. The doctor told me that I was pregnant.
Upon hearing this news, I at first felt surprised and happy. I had always dreamed of becoming a mother. Every time I saw friends and classmates together with their child, I admired them and wanted to have a child of my own.
But after the initial excitement, I began to feel worried and frustrated, because I was not married and had separated from my boyfriend before I found out I was pregnant. In China, it is against the “family planning policy” for unmarried women to have children.
I was worried for the future of my child, worried that he or she couldn’t obtain Hukou (household registration). A child without Hukou is unable to go to school, unable to receive education, and unable to have the rights to get various vaccinations. Such a child will also have many difficulties building a family and a career in the future. Although I had these concerns, my desire for my child helped me continue with the pregnancy. I felt happy every time the little baby moved in my womb.
Around 5 months into my pregnancy, the government’s Family Planning Committee found out I was pregnant. One day the neighborhood Committee was waiting outside my house along with Family Planning Officials. At first, they were beating around the bush, but pretty soon they disclosed the real purpose of the visit. They told me that in my situation, I could either have an abortion or pay a “social maintenance fee.” After that, they left my house to let me think about my “options.”
I decided to continue with my pregnancy.
Then, one month later the Family Planning Officials forcibly entered my home, telling me to choose between abortion or paying the social maintenance fee. They said if the child is born without Hukou, he will not be able to do anything. They also threatened to inform the bank to confiscate my house. They told me that they had asked my employer to fire me.
I was in anguish. I couldn’t choose either option they presented.
After the officials left, I immediately inquired about the “Family Planning” and “Social Maintenance Fee” policies of Jiangsu Province. I learned that with my annual income level, I would have to pay a “Social Maintenance Fee” of about $60,000 USD in order for my child to get Hukou. I simply couldn’t afford this huge cost.
But I never wanted to give up on this innocent little life. My mother also couldn’t bear to see this happening. My poor mom asked around for help and information. She finally told me that, by the time I would give birth, we could bribe the doctor to help with the birth, and we could request a favor from the local police officers and get Hukou by paying some money.
But in March of 2014, a group of six to seven people from the Family Planning Committee forced their way into my home. They set two people to watch my house. Four others dragged me into a car that had been waiting at my door. My helpless mother followed me in another car to the hospital.
In the hospital, on that same afternoon, the doctor injected the abortion drug oxytocin into my abdomen.
I was trembling. I kept shouting and struggling. The doctor left the room after the needle injection. After a few hours of stomach pain, I started to see blood and liquid flow. In the evening, I had strong stomach pains. After another few hours, my waters broke. Then my baby came out.
I dared not open my eyes to see my baby. I could not bear to see how such a lively, new life had been silently destroyed like this.
I cried and cried.
Nurses took away the remains of my little baby. I would have asked them to leave my baby with me, but I couldn’t speak.
Afterward, the doctor gave me another shot, saying that it was to stop the pain. But the pain did not stop. When they performed the operation to clean my womb, it was so unbelievably painful. Lying on that bed, I felt my body was cut open and broken.
I kept crying. My baby didn’t have a chance to come into this world and call me “Mom.” My baby didn’t have a chance to make a single sound. My baby was deprived of life by the government…
For a long time, I had nightmares of the horrible ordeal. I would dream of lying on the operating table, my stomach cut open. I was usually dead in the dream, with a large pool of blood on the ground. All kinds of internal organs lay strewn about.
Sometimes I dreamed of my child, a small life lying in a pool of blood. I would have hallucinations and hear children crying all around me. I often blamed myself for what had happened. I hated myself for becoming pregnant before getting married, which contributed to the death of my child. The physical and psychological pain drove me at times to contemplate suicide.
My mother accompanied me through these most desperate days. She tried in many ways to comfort me, encouraging me to travel and study.
With my mother’s encouragement and help, I traveled to the United States in December 2014. I immediately felt the culture of an open society. I felt the air of freedom, democracy, and human rights. All this gave me the courage to sail on with my life. In May 2015, I entered a Language school in New York city to enhance my English skills.
I remember in the language school we once discussed family and marriage. A classmate asked me, “I heard that in China, you can’t have multiple children, is this true?”
They were all surprised after listening to my explanation of the Chinese Family Planning policy. One student told me that if the government dared to tell her how many children she could have, or did not allow her child to be born, she would exercise her right to bear arms.
This helped me to begin to realize that I was not to blame for my baby’s death. On the contrary, it was the Chinese government’s fault. China’s Family Planning Policy persecuted me and violated my legal rights. In fact, my child had the right to come into this world.
I became more informed on this issue by reading online articles from Women’s Rights in China (WRIC). In December 2015, I joined a volunteer team to fight for women’s rights in China. What I learned from interaction with other volunteers completely changed the worldview that I had received from my education in China. I now saw things in a new light that would have been impossible for me to see while living in China.
I learned that it is a basic human right to give birth to a child and that forced abortion is an inhumane action of murder. I also learned how to make my voice heard for myself and for others’ rights.
Most importantly, it became more clear to me that my baby’s death was not my fault. My baby died because of a serious human rights violation by the Chinese government. It is not Chinese women who should feel ashamed, but the Chinese Communist Party that should feel ashamed. We have to stand up when our legal rights are violated, share our experiences, and reveal the murderous nature of the Chinese Family Planning Policy.
I am here today not only for myself, but also representing millions of Chinese women, who to this day still cannot make decisions about their own body and their own womb. Countless stories like mine reveal that China’s inhumane murderous family planning policy is still in progress and continues to persecute women and families.
The Chinese government created this wrong policy for its own interests, arbitrarily violated women’s legal rights, and deceived the Chinese people. There are millions of Chinese women who live in guilt and self-blame because of this policy. They are unaware of their rights. They struggle to have one more child and suffer all kinds of persecution without being able to appeal for justice.
My tragic experience of forced abortion by Chinese health and family planning officials used to be a memory that I was most reluctant to look back at, and even regarded it as extremely shameful. But today I understand that the victim must be brave enough to stand up and tell the truth, and show the world that the Chinese Communist Party’s family planning policy continues to murder, fine, and persecute women just like me. Despite the Chinese Communists having modified the policy, the acts of harming women and destroying lives still continues to happen.
Because of this, I chose to stand up. I have found that many people from China are sharing the same belief and voice as mine.
I believe one-day Chinese women will control their own right to give birth and no longer bear the burden of family planning policies. Their bodies will no longer be harmed by the government. They will live their lives with dignity.