Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beyond Our Privileged Comprehension

Can you imagine being pregnant, going to have an ultrasound, finding out it's a girl, and then aborting her because she's a girl?

Can you imagine getting pregnant for the first time without a birth permit and going into hiding so that the government doesn't find you and force you to abort your child?

Can you imagine being in hiding and discovering that the government has arrested a family member (your husband, father, brother, etc.) and they are beating him until you turn yourself in for an abortion?

Can you imagine living in a place where any of the above is completely normal?

No matter how much I think about this kind of thing and go over and over it in my head, I still can not comprehend it. I have grown up in a country where I have the freedom to do what I want within the reasonable laws (mostly) of our country, the United States. And many other countries in the world are like ours.

But many are not. And unfortunately, some of the above scenarios even take place in our more "advanced" countries.

I'm not a stranger to China's One-Child Policy. I'm well aware that it has existed for several decades now. And I know that forced abortions happen there all too frequently. It's horrific. But last week I read an article about a woman who narrowly escaped a forced abortion when she was five months pregnant. There was also an accompanying video. Together, the article and the video really bothered me. I shared it on Facebook and it was on my mind all day. And has continued to be on my mind ever since. This woman was able to have her little boy, unlike many of her fellow countrywomen, but that still comes with consequences. Her child is alive, but she and her husband face a $15,000 fine in order for her son to be eligible to register as a citizen. Until then, he doesn't exist as far as the Chinese government is concerned. And as long as he doesn't exist, he can't get an ID or register his own household when he grows up.

And how much exactly is $15,000 in China? I used a currency converter and $15,000 in USD is over 93,000 CNY (the Chinese currency). But what does that mean exactly. According to this website, the average income is $5445 per person per year in 2011 US dollars. That means that this fine is roughly three times what the average person makes in a year. That is ridiculous!

And what really bothered me, was that the couple says this is their first child (the government disagrees). We hear about the one-child policy in China and assume that the horrific crime of forced abortions is done when a woman becomes pregnant with a second child. But that's not the case here. And as I looked into this more I've discovered that abortion only after a first child is not always the case. I read through the cases on the Women's Rights Without Frontiers website and it was clear that first children are also at great risk of abortion (not to mention the mothers as well, many of whom also lose their lives due to the brutality of this practice in China). A family must have a Birth Permit, even for a first child, or they risk being forced into aborting that child.

This is horrifying to me. It completely eats me up inside to think about the fear these families must live with. And the pain throughout this country of the 336 million unborn children who have been murdered since 1971. That's approximately 8 million abortions a year or almost 22,000 abortions a day. A. Day.

My question is: What can I do? It's such a huge problem, though. I could make a donation to WRWF, which will definitely help. But that still feels like a drop in the bucket. A massive bucket! Stop buying anything that was made in China? Probably hard to do, but not impossible. But does that make any difference. My little, teeny-tiny part of the economy won't matter much.

I don't have any answers right now. This has been on my mind and I had to share it somewhere. My brain is swirling with so many thoughts. But so much of what I am reading is leaving me speechless and feeling powerless.

More thoughts later.

1 comment:

  1. I am speechless along with you. I knew about the horrid one child policy, but not some of the rest of this. It's straight out of the sci-fi novels I read in school... things like Brave New World and 1984. Which were endurable only because they were fiction, and "of course things like that could never really happen." But they did, and they do. Like you, I feel powerless as well as speechless. Thank you for calling attention to this. Together, we can pray.