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Silence in the War on Women

Does silence help women? I mean, silence about violations of women's rights?

The question arises from testimony Congress heard last week from human rights activists who discussed China's barbaric policy toward women and their unborn children.

That policy, often known by the euphemism, "one-child policy," involves coercive contraception and sterilization and even forced abortion--all brutalities that even those who call themselves "pro-choice" should have no trouble condemning.

And yet one hears little to nothing about these human rights violations from the many large foundations that have long funded "population control" around the world. They pride themselves on their support for "safe abortion," but are strangely silent about these decades-long abuses that still occur throughout the planet's most populous nation.

To take but one example, consider the Hewlett Foundation. Its large website has very few mentions of the word abortion, but it does repeat a few times its desire to fund internationally in

support of legal reform and policy implementation guaranteeing access to safe abortion, training of health care providers in safe abortion care [etc.]

Hewlett also claims to be concerned with "reducing unsafe abortion," as we read in an internal interview from 2009 with then-Population Program Director Sara Seims, a veteran of the Rockefeller Foundation's "population sciences" program. Seims was asked how Hewlett measures progress in this area:

The measurement question is very important. You're dependent on what data you can get. Ultimately we have two goals. One is to promote and protect reproductive health and rights. And the other is to achieve population stabilization in ways that promote well-being and protect the environment. In reproductive health, one measure we use is reducing unsafe abortion. Population stabilization can be measured by eliminating the unmet need for contraception. Those are key measures that we use.

Hewlett also rejoiced when the Obama administration reversed the so-called Mexico City policy that had kept federal funds from flowing to abortion groups. In the midst of this rejoicing, Seims criticized "American anti-choice organizations." If she's ever criticized the anti-choice organization known as the Chinese Communist Party, I can't find it.

Such silence contrasts sharply with yesterday's House hearing:

It took a blind man to really see the injustice of a population control program that makes most brothers and sisters illegal and to hear the desperate cries of Chinese women. It took a blind man, the great Chen Guangcheng, to open the eyes of a blind world to these human rights violations systematically inflicted on Chinese women. -Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.)

Forced abortion is definitely a human rights issue.... No mother wants to kill their own children. It's definitely dictated by the Central Communist Party. The Communist Party is above the law.

-human rights lawyer Chen Guangchen, best known for his daring night-time escape from Chinese secret police in 2012

Last month, the Ministry of Public Health publicly announced the "achievements" of the family planning policy in the past 40 years: 330 million abortions performed on Chinese women. What is really distressing is that these bloody numbers continue to climb and that the majority of these abortions were forced on the women by the government. On March 13, a woman [in] Henan province (Daxuzhai town, Taikang county) who had had a forced abortion was found hanged at the local family planning office with suspicious injuries all over her body. On March 22, a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy in Anhui province (Chuzhou, Fengyang county) was kidnapped by family planning cadres and taken to a hospital where a lethal injection was given that killed her seven-month-old unborn baby and caused her to deliver a dead fetus.... At the end of March, a mother of two in Hubei province (Tongshan county) named Shen Hongxia was forced by local family planning officials to have a tubal ligation against doctors' orders that led to her death.

-Pastor Bob Fu, founder and president, ChinaAid Association

Greg Pfundstein, president of the Chiaroscuro Foundation, has not been silent on this topic. He quotes attorney Reggie Littlejohn of Women's Rights without Frontiers, who provides the proper perspective for all of us:

The One Child Policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth. It is China's war on women. Any discussion of women's rights, or human rights, would be a charade if forced abortion in China is not front and center.

FOOTNOTE: Numerous books have been written about the ugliness of population control. One of the best in terms of its reporting on foundations' role is Matthew Connelly's Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population. But see also Steven Mosher's Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits, Robert Zubrin's Merchants of Despair, and Jacquelin Kasun's The War Against Population.