Chen's Misfortune: Being an Anti-Abortion Activist

Chen's Misfortune: Being an Anti-Abortion Activist

President Barack Obama threw a kinetic military action for Libyan dissidents. He abandoned a dictator to please dissidents in Egypt and is funding their new government to the tune of $1.5 billion dollars–even though its leaders support jihad against the US and the destruction of Israel. So it is surprising that blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng was put back out on the street after escaping house arrest and fleeing to the American embassy in Beijing via underground railroad. 

But Chen is an anti-abortion activist, and that runs against Obama’s philosophy–and particularly to the current “War on Women” narrative of which “reproductive rights” is the centerpiece. 

Chen is a women’s rights activist, but in China that has a different meaning than it does here. In 1979 China introduced its draconian one-child policy. This policy requires only one child per couple, but because of the cultural value placed on male children, it has resulted in a staggering number of abortions–13 million in 2010. (That figure only counts registered medical institutions, something to which most of rural China does not have access. It is estimated the real number could be two to three times that amount.)

In some areas of China, such as Shandong where Chen comes from and which is both generally rural and densely populated, this policy has led to compulsory sterilization and forced abortions. Chen’s fight for the rights of women in China has resulted in arrest and detention for Chen and threats of physical abuse and even death for Chen and his family. Continued threats against his family are the probable cause of his “voluntary” exit from the American embassy. 

Traditionally, China has encouraged political dissidents to go into exile to minimize their influence. However the State Department has lauded a “new model” allowing for Chinese dissidents to stay in China. But considering China’s human rights record, that model is unlikely to be beneficial to the dissidents. More troubling is Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s statement that she was “pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng’s stay and departure from the U.S. Embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values.”

The choice of staying in China or having your wife and children tortured or killed is no choice at all. The Obama administration’s values concerning abortion have been to support it in all its forms. This includes even the most controversial forms such as late term and partial birth abortion. They even oppose legislation concerning born-alive failed abortions and requirements for notification of parents before minors receive abortions.

Obama has been one of the most ideologically rigid presidents in American history, the result of an activist background. But the while a rigid ideology is a requirement for activism, governance requires an open mind and a recognition of the values of the governed. 

The Chinese government says it will expedite a student visa for Chen and allow him and his family to come to the United State, but there is little reason to believe that the Chinese will live up to these promises. It is even less likely that the Obama administration will pressure them to do so, as China’s very real war on women mirrors Obama’s war for women’s reproductive rights less state compulsion. 

That was confirmed by Mrs. Clinton’s feeble statement that while she finds Chen brave, her vital economic and strategic dealings with China cannot become captive to human rights cases during her tenure as secretary of state. Chen’s future as a law student in America seems less than secure.


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