Many Chinese citizens are outraged that a 41-year-old woman is being forced to consider an illegal abortion at eight months since her unborn child would violate China’s one-child policy and likely cost her husband his government job.
The couple’s dilemma has sparked a controversial debate on whether employment in the public sector should be used as leverage against citizens to implement China’s restrictive birth policy.
The woman, identified by her surname Chen, spoke to the Guardian during a telephone interview regarding their case. She told the news outlet that she and her husband were both under pressure to terminate her eight-month pregnancy in order to keep his job as a police officer.
Though the couple will not be forced to terminate the pregnancy, there will be consequences for having a second child. According to Wen Xueping, a family planning official in Yunnan’s Chuxiong prefecture, couples who do not adhere to China’s child policy will be penalized with fines and the threat of losing their jobs with the government. If Chen and her husband keep their second child, supporting the family without her husband’s job will be difficult.
The pair had hoped that China’s one-child policy would change before they had a second child but Chen was unexpectedly impregnated earlier this year while the current decree was still in place. The country’s strict child policy has been under much scrutiny as of late. As a result, China has become more lenient in allowing couples to have a second child, but urban parents who have siblings are still prohibited from having multiple kids.
News about the couple have been circulating on China’s social media, and concerned citizens have been inquiring for more information regarding their situation to local officials in the Yunnan province, where the couple reside. An online travel company, CTrip, has also reached out to the couple to offer the husband a position if he loses his job with the police force.