The One-Child policy that has been enforced throughout China for many years has led to a great number of forced abortions, physical attacks, and even the deaths of those women who did not wish to comply. The policy has been the cause of infanticide and gendercide, both of which will cause very real problems for China’s population in the future. It is a policy that many here in America fear most, that one day abortion and infanticide will not only be fully legal, but that these heinous acts would be coerced by the government. But we needn’t fear because that could never happen in the United States, right? No matter the differing opinions we as a nation have on these issues, such a harsh mandate would never be allowed by our government. Even Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, does not want to force abortion on anyone; they just want to ensure that every woman has the right to choose.
Interestingly enough, despite the claim that Planned Parenthood is all about choice, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) supports China’s One-Child policy. In fact, the China Family Planning Association has been a full member of the IPPF since 1983. IPPF’s website states that “the China Family Planning Association plays a very important role in China’s family planning,” and that it “. . . supports the present family planning policy of the government, which is appropriate for the present national situation.” That policy, of course, is the One-Child policy, which states that women who conceive after already giving birth once must abort their child, and those women who resist will be forced to comply. These women have been attacked, fined, and stripped of everything they have as punishment for not adhering to the policy. Quite simply, the women who already have one child have no choice.
So how could IPPF support such a policy? Could it be that they are so ideologically different from their U.S. parent organization, an ardent supporter of choice? No, it is not. IPPF claims on their website, “We encourage individuals, women in particular, to take control of their reproductive lives.” Yet in China, once one child has been born, women are no longer in control of their reproductive lives. So, with IPPF’s beliefs seemingly wholly incompatible with China’s policy, why would they ever support it? They are an organization that has fought so vigorously in the name of choice and women’s rights in all countries, but still they support this major attack on a woman’s body.
The fact that one of IPPF’s main sources of income comes from government grants could very well be a reason that they seem to ignore the truth of the situation in China. It is possible that despite their claims, campaigns, and slogans, Planned Parenthood is not really as pro-choice as they would lead us to believe. Before Roe v. Wade, they fought because they felt a woman’s choice had been infringed upon by the banning of abortion, but now in China, the exact opposite is true. The One-Child policy keeps a woman from being able to choose life, thus inhibiting her choice. If Planned Parenthood really was for choice, should they not be waving their arms in the air and putting up a fight? So, maybe this is an instance where we get to see Planned Parenthood’s true colors. We see that they are not as “pro-choice” as they portray themselves, but rather they are, in fact, “pro-abortion.”
China’s One-Child policy poses very real problems for their future demographics: an ever declining population; a major gender gap that will leave millions of unmarried men; one of the world’s highest female suicide rates; an increase in sex-trafficking; and a more utilitarian view of women. As an organization committed to the empowerment and equality of women everywhere, Planned Parenthood should oppose the One-Child policy. IPPF’s website states, “. . . above all, we promote choices.” However, it appears that the only choice Planned Parenthood supports in China is whether women will have their abortions willingly or unwillingly.