Uighur Woman, Six Months Pregnant, Faces Forced Abortion

Arzigul Tursun of China’s largely Muslim Uighur minority faces a forced abortion 26 weeks into her pregnancy.  From Radio Free Asia:

Arzigul Tursun, six months pregnant with her third child, is under guard in a hospital in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, scheduled to undergo an abortion against her will because authorities say she is entitled to only two children.

[…]”Arzigul is being kept in bed number three,” a nurse in the women’s section at Gulja’s Water Gate Hospital said in a telephone interview. “We will give an injection first. Then she will experience abdominal pain, and the baby will come out by itself. But we haven’t given her any injection yet—we are waiting for instructions from the doctors.”

[…]”When she fled the village to avoid abortion, police and Party officials, and the family planning committee officials, all came and interrogated us,” said [Nurmemet Tohtasin, Tursun’s husband]. “The deputy chief of the village, a Chinese woman named Wei Yenhua, threatened that if we didn’t find Arzigul and bring her to the village, she would confiscate our land and all our property.”

International pressure has stalled the abortion, which Tursun’s supporters say would threaten her health.  From AP:

A nurse tending to the woman at the maternity ward of a hospital in Yining, near China’s border with Kazakhstan, said physicians had delayed performing the abortion because of international queries about her case.

[…]The case of Arzigul Tursun is raising attention because she is 26 weeks’ pregnant and supporters say an abortion could threaten her health. Her husband, who goes by the single name Nurmemet, said officials in their village near Yining learned of the pregnancy and warned the couple their house and property would be seized if Arzigul did not undergo an abortion.

[…]U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican, wrote China’s ambassador to Washington, Zhou Wenzhong, on Thursday to demand that “the nightmare of a forced abortion” not be carried out.

If Tursun does not abort, her family faces a prohibitive fine of 45,000 yuan (U.S. $6,590) for transgressing China’s family planning policy.  See this France24English video for more about the uneven effect of the one-child policy across socioeconomic strata in China.

Read more on CDT about the one-child policy and family planning in China.

November 16, 2008 10:04 PM
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Categories: Human Rights, Society