Last week a woman stepped forward to share about her traumatic forced abortion, inspired by the response to Feng Jianmei’s story. Zhang Wen Fang, 43, told Chai Ling of All Girls Allowed that she lost both her baby and her livelihood when officials forced her into a hospital for surgery four years ago.
On May 23rd, 2008, when Zhang was nine months pregnant, at least eleven Family Planning officials entered her home while her husband was away. Eight or nine men and three women dragged her into a van and took her to the People’s Hospital, where they induced labor despite her protests. At 8pm they tried to inject an unknown chemical into her stomach, and Zhang resisted: “I pulled the needle out,” she said. “But then six men held me down so that they could give me the injection with a second needle.” Afterwards, they kept her in a room and did not let her family know where she was.
On May 25th, Zhang began to suffer contractions and then her water broke. She remembers feeling panic: “I was saying, ‘Help, help!’ but they ignored me and wouldn’t even let me out of the room.” Shortly after, she lost consciousness.
When Zhang woke up on May 26th, she was in extreme pain—and her baby was gone. “When I asked the officials and doctors what happened to the baby, if it was alive or dead, they would not tell me.” Chai Ling asked Zhang how she felt after the ordeal, and she broke down in tears. “I often have dreams about the baby,” said Zhang. “In those dreams, a child is looking at me and crying, asking, ‘Mommy, can you save me?’”
But officials did not stop there. They also removed Zhang’s uterus. The next morning, they forced Zhang’s mother to sign a form accepting that her daughter’s uterus was gone. Subsequent medical examinations revealed that the hospital had also removed her cervix, fallopian tubes, and right ovary.
Before the incident, Zhang was an entrepreneur. She began a successful trucking business and was making 1,000 RMB ($157 USD) per day. But she suffered major complications when doctors removed her uterus and is now confined to a wheelchair with severe kidney malfunction. She had to close her business because she can no longer move freely, and her marriage also broke down under the strain. “After suffering much harassment and beatings from the Family Planning Committee people, my husband left me,” said Zhang.
Zhang tried to petition the government about the incident, but the Mr. Guo, the Deputy Minister of the Family Planning Committee in Hong Hu, was defiant: “I removed the uteruses of one thousand women, and no one dared to say a word to me.”
Meanwhile Mr. Jiang, the Deputy Minister responsible for petitions, said about Zhang’s forced abortion and uterine removal: “We not only have the right to do this, but we must do it this way.” Liu Dong Qing, a Family Planning Committee member, signed Zhang Wen Fang’s abortion form at the hospital. Zhang Li, one of the women who helped abduct Zhang, is now the Women’s Federation Director for the village.
Last month Zhang went again to the local authorities seeking an investigation, but she was severely beaten by police. “My knees were black and blue,” she said. One officer threatened her life, saying that someone had offered him money to kill her and silence her permanently.
Zhang grew distraught as she told her story, so Ling offered to pray for her. Zhang welcomed this and joined Ling in prayer, asking Jesus to guide her life and restore her hope. “Her entire tone and demeanor changed,” Ling said thankfully. “Her voice went from despair to joyful anticipation.”
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Chai Ling asked Zhang what she hoped to do by coming forward, and she replied: “I want justice. I would like to get help. I am forever handicapped. My other child is like an orphan, without much support; I am now dependent on my aging mother. I would like to see the perpetrators receive justice by law. I would like to ensure that no more families ever have to go through what I have been through, to be butchered like this.”
LifeNews Note: Kat Lewis is the director of communications for All Girls Allowed, a human rights group.