Chinese Parents Take Family Planning Officials to Court Over Forced Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 29, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Chinese Parents Take Family Planning Officials to Court Over Forced Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 29,

Beijing, China ( — A Chinese couple had filed a lawsuit against family planning officials over a forced abortion that has left the couple unable to have children. The suit hasn’t been successful so far and it points to the problems associated with the population control policies in China that allow families just one child.

Yang Zhongchen, a small-town businessman, hoped he could buy off family planning officials to allow him and his wife to have a baby.

But one night just weeks before she was scheduled to give birth, authorities took Yang’s wife Jin Yani from their home. She was taken to an abortion center and family planning officials injected a drug into her abdomen that killed her unborn child.

"Several people held me down, they ripped my clothes aside and the doctor pushed a large syringe into my stomach," she told the Associated Press about her ordeal. "It was very painful. … It was all very rough."

Seven years later, Jin is still emotionally affected by the abortion and she is unable to conceive and have children now.

AP reports that the couple tried to get family planning authorities to compensate them but they have declined their requests. That prompted the lawsuit.

The courts have ruled against them so far, saying they got pregnant out of wedlock and claiming Jin consented to the abortion. They appealed the initial decision and the appeals court has yet to take the case.

Jin was an 18 year-old high school dropout when she met 30-year-old Yang, who works in construction, in September 1998. They moved in together and 18 months later Jin was pregnant.

The couple couldn’t get married because Chinese law prevents anyone under the age of 20 from getting a marriage license. They eventually got married but could not obtain the paperwork to have their child.

According to AP, Yang faced a fine of $660 to $1,330 for not getting the proper papers in advance and he tried to buy off Di Wenjun, head of the neighborhood family planning office in their hometown. He also bought a meal for the local head of the Communist Party.

But three weeks later they took Jin for the abortion.

One of Yang’s two lawyers, Wang Chen, told AP that’s because Yang merely bought them dinner but did not give them a bribe to look the other way.

"Dinner is not enough," Wang said. "Nothing gets done without a bribe. This is the situation in China. Yang was too naive."

Today, Jin has lost is construction business because he cannot afford it and doctors say nothing is wrong with Jin, even though she has repeatedly tried to have children. The Yang’s attorneys don’t expect the courts will ever reward them the money they are seeking in emotional and medical damages from the abortion.