When her mind is clear, Gong Qifeng can recall how she begged for mercy. Several people pinned her head, arms, knees and ankles to a hospital bed before driving a syringe of labour-inducing drugs into her stomach.
She was seven months pregnant with what would have been her second boy. The drugs caused her to have a stillborn baby after 35 hours of excruciating pain. She was forced to have the abortion by officials in China’s southern province of Hunan in the name of complying with national limits on family size.
“It was the pain of my lifetime, worse than the pain of delivering a child. You cannot describe it,” Ms Gong, 25, said in a recent interview in Beijing. “And it has become a mental pain. I feel like a walking corpse.”
Forced abortions are considered an acceptable way of enforcing China’s population limits, but they are banned when the woman is more than five months pregnant. Yet no one has been held accountable for Ms Gong’s late-term abortion, and other women in similar cases also struggle to get justice and compensation.
The issue isn’t compensation, or when a forced abortion happens. The issue is that it is forced. No state should have the power to force a woman to abort. It is barbaric.
Although China in November announced an easing of its “one-child” policy to allow more couples to have a second child, the overall system remains in place and local governments are still required to keep to population quotas.
I don’t support population quotas or the euphemism that some parties use, of having a population policy.