One woman’s story of the forced termination of her eight-month foetus highlights the trauma faced by many of those who
China’s one-child policy leads to an estimated 13 million reported abortions every year, with many of those ordered by the authorities enforcing the system.
Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan gained access to a hospital in the southeastern city of Xiamen, where she found one mother in a terrible condition.
Xiao Ai Ying was forced to have an abortion eight months into her pregnancy because she already has a ten-year-old girl.
Forced abortions sometimes happen in remote areas of China, but this one occurred in one of the country’s most modern cities. They are not condoned by the central government.
Mothers who violate China’s one-child policy usually pay a fine anywhere from $1 to $40,000, but are then often sterilised to prevent them from having another child.
Although the officials figures of 13 million abortions seem high, physicians and medical researchers quoted by the state-run newspaper China Daily on Thursday said that once unreported and medication-induced abortions are counted, the actual number is substantially higher.
The rate of abortion in China is about 24 abortions for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, the World Health Organisation and the Guttmacher Institute said in a joint report.
In 2003, the report put the number of abortions in China at nine million, out of a total of 42 million worldwide.
Al Jazeera approached Chinese authorities in Xiamen for comment on this story, but they declined to speak to us.