09/08/2015, 00.00
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Eight-month pregnant woman threatened into aborting

Her husband could lose his job if she does not terminate the unplanned pregnancy. Now the couple fears reprisals. Since China’s one-child policy was adopted in the late 1970s, an estimated 400 children have not been born. For families, this has come with a heavy psychological price. For the country, it carries a high economic price tag.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A pregnant woman in the south-western Chinese province of Yunnan has sparked a public outcry after posting a desperate tweet saying she was being pressured into terminating a pregnancy at eight months or face her husband's sacking.

"I won't let the doctor inject my baby with poison. I would rather crash my car," wrote the 41-year-old woman, who identified herself only by her surname, Chen, on microblogging service Sina Weibo.

Chen later said via the WeChat messaging app that her husband had been informed that he would lose his job if the couple refused to abort the child. The couple had not expected to be with child.

The would-be mother described the threats. “My husband's employers know about my pregnancy, and they brought some people to our home," she noted. "They want us to kill our baby so as to save his job."

Chen also appeared fearful of reprisals over the amount of public attention her dilemma had generated.

Forced abortion has been commonplace in China since the late 1970s when the Communist Party adopted the child policy to control the birth rate.

In more than 35 years, the policy has prevented some 400 million births, mostly female, this according to US sources.

Although forced abortion is illegal, scores of forced sterilisations and abortions after the six-month legal limit have been reported.

Although Chinese authorities “relaxed” their policy in 2013, allowing couples to have two children, if one parent is an only child, critics note that women who refuse to abort are still victimised.

Despite the government’s attempt to promote its modified policy, activists continue to stress the negative economic impact of China’s family planning policy, not to mention its toll on family life.

Chinese demographers expect that by 2025 the labour force will start to shrink by 10 million a year whilst senior citizens will increase to 360 ​​million, up from 200 million in 2013.

If this continues, the workforce will decline, as will the country’s tax base, at a time when costs for elderly care will skyrocket.

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