NEW YORK, April 28 (C-FAM) – A US appeals court ruled that a Chinese man whose wife underwent a forced abortion and IUD insertion is not eligible to asylum, despite US law to the contrary.

Even though the court recognized the couple’s clear desire to have additional children, it reasoned that with only one child currently, the couple was not in violation of China’s one-child policy, and any future threat of persecution was “too speculative.”

The decision was issued last week by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  The ruling not only helps to establish a precedent that a married couple should not be kept together in asylum cases, but also downplays the draconian breadth and severity of the Chinese family planning system and one-child policy.

A 1996 asylum law passed by Congress states that a person who has been forced to abort a pregnancy, or “who has a well-founded fear that he or she will be forced to undergo such a procedure” is deemed either to have been persecuted or to have a well founded fear of persecution based on political opinion.

The principle author of the law, Congressman Chris Smith, has testified in the past that the intent of the law was to cover the spouse of any woman involved in a forced abortion. 

While there are many asylum cases involving Chinese men who alleged that their spouses or partners were forced to abort their unborn child, this case is notable because the court did not dispute the evidence of the forced abortion.

In 2008, the US Supreme Court denied an asylum appeal by a man whose wife underwent a forced abortion.  The court did not issue an opinion, and effectively upheld a circuit court ruling that was at odds with another circuit court ruling on the subject.

The organization All Girls Allowed, which was founded by Chai Ling, one of the student leaders in the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement, serves to “reveal the injustice of China’s one-child policy.”  According to the organization, millions of Chinese women are forced to undergo abortions and sterilizations: “Government enforcers, tasked with ensuring ‘out of plan’ children are never born, utilize informants and random searches to find pregnant women and forcibly terminate pregnancies, even at full term.”

There are 300,000 officials whose job is to enforce the policy, and a total of 92 million members who help out with enforcement.

All Girls Allowed stresses the tremendous psychological effect on women of the Chinese one-child policy. “500 women commit suicide each day in China, making it the only country in the world where women commit suicide more than men.”  Further, “Suicide is the #1 cause of death for rural Chinese women between 15-34.”

Mandatory abortion is endorsed explicitly as an official policy instrument in the regulations of 18 of China’s 31 provincial-level jurisdictions.  When Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the US earlier this year, President Obama and Democratic leaders did not discuss the issue of forced abortion among human rights concerns.  However, in response to Republican congressional leaders who directly questioned Hu on the issue, Hu shocked everyone by claiming that the forced abortion policy does not exist in China.

This article reprinted with permission from www.c-fam.org