China’s One Child Abortion Policy: Heaven Not Harvard

International   |   Maura Butler   |   Jan 21, 2011   |   12:32AM   |   Washington, DC

Being a mom of three, I often chat with other moms and read mommy blogs.  Something I read struck me this week as solidly ironic.  An article printed in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” was all the buzz this week. 

Cleverly published when Chinese President Hu Jintao was enjoying a diplomatic visit to the U.S., this article stuck in my mind as I read a story about Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and a quote from Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) regarding China’s macabre One Child Policy.

The author, Amy Chua, a Yale law professor, spoke of raising her two daughters in a traditionally Chinese way, demanding of them using techniques that many Western parents would consider downright mean.  Chua’s self-described parenting style included yelling, shaming, name-calling and other forceful methods to get her children to turn out to be the best at anything they did: namely academics and musical instruments. 

She spoke of calling her daughter “garbage” as a way to disgrace her in front of others for being disrespectful and shame her into good behavior.  Chua explained that Chinese mothers do this out of wanting the best for their children.

What struck me is that if this woman was the mother of these two girls in China, the younger of the two, if not both, would likely be dead – either from abortion or post partum infanticide on discovery she was a girl.  Mothering in China includes a devastating reality that has taken the lives of unknown numbers of little girls meant for this world.  The two to one ratio of boys to girls in China is proof positive that something is devastatingly wrong.  There are half as many girls who will be able to grow up to be mothers.

The worldly mentality of focusing on being the best and disregarding all else places focus on the wrong values; values disassociated from the intrinsic worth of every human life regardless of excellence or ability.  In Chua’s world, a person’s worth is earned; it is based on achievement.  This ideology is not surprising when it stems from a totalitarian state that requires the coercive murder of children in their mothers’ wombs.  Life is expendable in that worldview.

Speaking with a friend about this article, a home-schooling mother of five, she shared with me a phrase that I plan to adopt for my children: heaven not Harvard.  It is my belief that my most important job as a mother is to get my children to heaven.  Their intrinsic value has been given to them by their Creator, not by me, not by the world. 

 My hope for the Chinese people, especially for mothers in China, is that through the work of good men and women like Chris Smith and John Boehner, they will come to recognize the intrinsic value of every human life, especially those of their own children.