A woman in China who is 8-months pregnant has been ordered by the Communist government to abort her baby - or she and her husband will lose their jobs and face a hefty fine.
According to Shanghai online news portal Sixth Tone, the couple, surnamed Zhong, are residents of Meizhou City, Guangdong province. Both have children from previous marriages, and were ecstatic when they were able to conceive a child together.
The pair, who both work for government-owned institutions, believed they would be permitted to have a child together under the new Two-Child policy. China reversed its infamous One-Child policy in 2015 after 35 years, increasing the permitted number of children per family to two.
However, while new family planning regulations introduced at the start of 2016 in provinces throughout the country include rules for remarried couples, Guangdong's rules don't.
"We thought we had met the new criteria to have a child," Zhong said, "and that if we didn't take immediate action, we might never be able to conceive a baby again."
Zhong, who is expecting her child on Sept. 10, said she has been riddled with depression and anxiety resulting from governmental pressure: "I can't give up on this child, as I'm almost 40," she said. "And it wouldn't be easy for us to find jobs again, given our ages."
Qiao Xiaochun, a professor at the Institute of Population Research at Peking University, told Sixth Tone he doesn't know why Guangdong has yet to update its family planning policies and suggested local lawmakers just need "more time to approve the rules."
To ensure population control in the past, Chinese officials resorted to abortions, heavy fines and forced sterilization. Human rights watchdog Women's Rights Without Frontiers, slammed the "human tragedy and appalling injustice" of the Zhong case and noted that the policy changes contineu to enforce a coercive family planning system.
"I immediately stated that this minor modification would not end coercion, and now the proof is beginning to leak out. Our hearts go out to the Zhong family. They are brave indeed to stand up to the intense government pressure to abort at eight months or both lose their jobs," Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, said.
"We need to keep the international pressure on the Chinese Communist Party until all coercive population control is eradicated. Take action by signing our petition against forced abortion in China," she said.
Last year, Human rights group Amnesty International issued a statement warning the change in the population control policy was "not enough."
"Couples that have two children could still be subjected to coercive and intrusive forms of contraception, and even forced abortions -- which amount to torture," China researcher William Nee said.
"The state has no business regulating how many children people have," Nee said.