Pregnancy

Tiananmen Square Activist Finds New Cause: Fighting Gendercide

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Chai Ling was a leader of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Now she’s teaming up with US lawmakers — including both pro-life and pro-choice lawmakers — in a push to end gender-based abortions. China has a barbaric one-child policy that means parents who do get pregnant after their allotted one child are forced to abort or otherwise get rid of the child. In addition to typical opposition to this practice, some people are pointing out that a one-child policy combined with a sexist culture that prefers males is a disaster in the making.

That’s the approach Chai Ling is taking in her battle. Following her conversion to Christianity last year, she launched the group All Girls Allowed. It aims to fight sex-selective abortion in China but also everywhere else it’s practiced. She’s taken an innovative approach to the problem, which includes raising money to subsidize the incomes of women who raise girls so that husbands and in-laws would see the value in keeping baby girls.

Another innovation is how Chai Ling is working with both sides of the abortion fight. Her argument is that all should oppose the systematic elimination of girls. She got lawmakers to sign a declaration that said, among other things, “Globally, the growing surplus of men will lead to increased social unrest and a more aggressive foreign policy … Gender imbalances have been shown to significantly disrupt spending patterns, leading to significant trade imbalances that are detrimental to the global economy.”

She estimates that by 2020, China will have 40 million more young men than women — a number equivalent to all the young men in the United States. Earlier this year, The Lancet found that India had 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to age six. It is also a major site for sex-selective abortions. The wealthier and more educated a woman is, the more likely she is to abort her female unborn child.

Last March, The Economist reported that some 100 million female fetuses had been aborted in sex-selective procedures.