Chinese Woman Facing Forced Abortion Flees, Recaptured, Could Occur Today

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 18, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Chinese Woman Facing Forced Abortion Flees, Recaptured, Could Occur Today

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 18
, 2008

Beijing, China ( — A Chinese woman who is six-months pregnant will likely face a forced abortion today after she escaped from the hospital where she is kept under guard. Arzigul Tursun fled from the Municipal Watergate Hospital but was later recaptured by local officials and could be forcibly aborted as soon as today.

The case is drawing international attention to how China strictly enforces its one-child family planning policy and uses forced abortions and sterilizations to do so.

It also highlights how incoming president Barack Obama is considering funding a United Nations agency that has been involved in promoting the coercive program.

Tursun is a Muslim woman who is 26 weeks into her pregnancy and the abortion would very likely cause her health problems. She already has two children and this is her third pregnancy, which violates the two-child exception to the policy some rural women and minorities are given.

Tursun’s husband told Radio Free Asia that his wife slipped away from the hospital when a guard went to get her dinner, but added she was later recaptured.

"Arzigul ran away while the village official who was guarding her went to get her dinner," her husband said. "She left with her slippers, a shirt, and a sleeveless jacket. She didn’t take her bag or her other clothing."

Tursun’s husband told RFA that Chinese officials threatened to take his home and property if he didn’t help divulge her location.

After she was apprehended at a relative’s home, family planning officials took Tursun to a larger hospital where she will remain under stronger surveillance.

Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican congressman who has been the leading American official speaking out against Tursun’s treatment, told ABC News he is very upset by the latest news and called China’s policy a "barbaric practice."

"Twice Arzigul has fled and been recaptured by China’s population control cadres," he said.

Smith added: "Is the Chinese government really going to forcibly abort a third-trimester baby, after the mother’s desperate efforts to save her child have become a global news story? We hope and pray they will hear the mother’s plea and refrain from such brutality."

Smith has pleaded with China’s ambassador to the United States to stop the planned forced abortion and, now, Rep. Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican, has also called for Tursun’s release.

"I call on the Chinese government to immediately intervene in order to stop any forced abortion from taking place," Pitts said.

"Though we know Chinese authorities regularly used forced abortions to enforce its coercive population control program, carrying out this brutal procedure with the world watching Arzigul Tursun’s case would display an utter disregard for any notion of human rights by Chinese authorities," he added.

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