Chinese Woman Who Faced Potential Forced Abortion Released, Keeps Baby

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

Chinese Woman Who Faced Potential Forced Abortion Released, Keeps Baby

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 18
, 2008

Beijing, China ( — A Chinese woman who was six months pregnant and potentially faced a forced abortion under the Asian nation’s coercive one-child family planning policy has been released. Arzigul Tursun has been released from a hospital where she had been held against her will for an abortion.

The news comes after reports that Tursun fled from the Municipal Watergate Hospital and was later apprehended by family planning officials who insisted she could have been forcibly aborted as early 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.

“I am all right and I am at home now,” Tursun told Radio free Asia on Tuesday shortly after she was released from the Women and Children’s Welfare Hospital in Ili prefecture in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region.

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.

RFA reports that local officials changed their mind only because Tursun was so late in pregnancy and wouldn’t have been able to endure the abortion.

“I brought her home,” the local population-control committee chief, Rashide, said. “She wasn’t in good enough health to have an abortion.”

Leading pro-life members of Congress worked with Bush administration officials to stop the abortion.

Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania urged officials to "immediately intervene in order to stop any forced abortion from taking place.”

On Friday, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, ranking member on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, called forced abortions a "barbaric practice" and made a personal appeal to Chinese ambassador Zhou Wenzhong.

Smith also contacted U.S. Ambassador to China Clark Randt and asked him to intervene. Randt spoke with the executive vice foreign minister, Wang Guanya, Smith’s office said.

Tursun’s husband told Radio Free Asia that his wife slipped away on Monday 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 father, Hasan Tursunjan said between 20 and 30 police cars came to the family home to search for his daughter and take her to the hospital to force the abortion.

“It was a big operation—and they treated us very rudely,” he said. “They confiscated all our cellphones, but I hid one. One of them was pushing my forehead and saying, ‘You have connections with the separatists in America — see if they can come and rescue your daughter or not.’”

“I was very upset at what he did to me and said, ‘I believe they will rescue us, if not today then tomorrow, and if not tomorrow then the day after tomorrow—they will eventually rescue us,’” Tursunjan said.

Tursunjan told RFA that his son told the police to stop hurting his father and he found himself arrested as a result.

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