A pregnant woman from China who was ordered to have a late-term abortion after she moved to an area with different rules on the one-child policy has been told she can keep the baby amid public outrage.
On Wednesday, the South China Morning Post revealed that the family planning commission in Guizhou province had overturned a ruling by county level officials ordering Tan Yi to have an abortion by the end of the month, or be fired from her job as a teacher.
Several months ago, Tan was told in her home city of Huangshan in Anhui province that she could have a second baby with her husband, Meng Shaoping, because she was divorced from the father of her first child.
However, her case made headlines a few months later after she moved to Libo county in Guizhou with her second husband and was told the pregnancy had to be terminated because one-child policy rules were enforced more strictly there. An officer for the commission told AP that before overturning the decision, authorities investigated whether Qin transferred her residency to Huagshan earlier this year purely to get permission to have a baby.
China's one-child policy, which has been in place for over 30 years, is promoted by the Communist Party as being vital to alleviating social, economic and environmental problems across the country. According to the Chinese Health ministry, doctors have performed 336 million abortions and 196 million sterilisations, since 1971 and inserted 403 million intrauterine devices.
The practice has been condemned by many, including Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, who called the policy "brutal".
"The problem with the one-child policy is not the number of children 'allowed.' Rather, it is the fact that the CCP is telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion and forced sterilization," Littlejohn told the Congressional Executive Commission on China at the end of April, National Catholic Register reports.
She also slammed suggestions that China has relaxed its policy, now allowing couples to have a second baby if either parent is an only child. "This minor adjustment did not 'ease' the one-child policy. It merely tweaked it," Littlejohn said.
"Continuing the one-child policy makes no demographic sense. China's population problem is not that it has too many people, but too few young people and too few women. Limiting births can no longer justify the policy," she added.
At a recent Congressional hearing, blind Chinese activist and attorney Chen Guangcheng also denounced the policy and accused the government of having "contempt for the lives of human beings," CNS News reports.
"Over the past 35 years, China has killed a total of 360 to 400 million young lives as a result of its inhumane and violent birth control policies. During a six-month period of 2005, more than 130,000 forced abortions and/or sterilizations took place in Linyi city alone. More than 600,000 family members suffered during this period," he said at a hearing of the Congressional Executive Commission on China.
He added, "This brutality and these crimes against women and their families have wrought irrevocable physical, spiritual and psychological harm...[This] has demoralized the Chinese society, switching it from a society that highly values life to a social decay where society looks down on and has a contempt for the individual lives of human beings."