Monday, May 14, 2007

A Difference of Degree [Jay]

This article in the the May 5 issue of World Magazine about forced abortions in the Guangxi Province of China is one of the most horrible examples of when a desire to protect society becomes more important than the value of protecting life. The Chinese incentives to encourage families to have only one child extend to seizing pregnant women guilty of unauthorized procreation and terminating the lives of their unborn children. According to this article, 60 women in 24 hours including one who was 9 months pregnant.

I want to share an extended excerpt from this story. It is truly horrible:

But Wei will need more than get-well gifts to heal from her April 17 ordeal that began around 9 a.m. when 10 Population and Family Planning Commission officials arrived in three cars at her home. During a phone call to the couple's house a week later, Wei's husband Liang told WORLD the officials announced that they would make Wei have an abortion, since the couple had ignored a written warning they received in March to abort the baby voluntarily.

At that time, Liang told WORLD, the couple thought the "penalty" mentioned for having an unauthorized second child would be a fee, as is sometimes the case. Instead, the officials came to their house, stuffed Wei into a car, and drove her to Youjiang District People's Hospital.

At the hospital, officials made Wei lie down in a makeshift bed in a corridor filled with about 20 other distressed women at all stages of pregnancy about to endure forced abortions. Some wept. Next to Wei was 19-year-old Ce Haigan, who was nine months pregnant. She was there because she had no permission to marry her 21-year-old boyfriend—or, by extension, to become pregnant. Another pregnant woman in the corridor resisted. Officials shoved her into a private room.

Soon the 10 officials also herded Wei into a private room. Her husband followed...By 11 a.m.—two hours after the couple was forced to leave their home—the procedure had taken place. It took three injections. The first was for inducing labor. A doctor felt Wei's abdomen for the baby's head, and injected its skull. The second injection contained poison. A third injection also followed, though Liang says he could not remember its purpose. A friend familiar with the medical procedure later told him that multiple injections are necessary when the pregnancy is so far along, well into the third trimester.

I do not have to explain what is so horrible about this story, and there is much more than just this excerpt. The thing that struck me as I meditated on this article for the last few days was that the American that holds to the “pro-choice” position, if they truly believe the arguments they champion, reads this story very differently. The only aspect that can be truly troubling is the loss of freedom of choice represented. The procedures to kill these children are no more gruesome than the acts of violence they characterize as constitutional rights here in the United States. The fact that Wei was forced to do this can be the only troubling aspect of the article.

The difference in position from the American “pro-choice” advocate and the Chinese government is one of degrees, however unpleasant that idea may be to those who hold these views. If a woman wanted to use her freedom and autonomy to take her pregnant body to an abortion provider against the wishes of the father of the baby and the grandparents of the baby and have the unborn child brutally killed, “Pro-choice” Americans would support her right to do so without exception. The reasons for doing so are no different than the Chinese government’s reasons. The only argument is who gets to make the decision. The woman or the government? Both parties agree that the life of the unborn is of secondary importance to economic pressures and possible future hardships as a result of the unborn life being allowed to be carried to term. Both agree that people who are already born are more important than those who have yet to be born. Both agree that killing innocent human life is a solution to their problem.

The pro-life position is of a different kind to the Chinese government's policy. The “pro-choice” position is a difference of degree. If they truly believe what they champion, then much of what moves us in this story leaves them completely unaffected. I am praying that is not true.

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