On 'The Lost Daughters of China'

March 3, 2006

I am sucked in by Karin Evans’s book, The Lost Daughters of China (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2000), which examines why so many Chinese baby girls are abandoned and then adopted by foreigners. I don’t plan on adopting a baby, but I found the book in a flea market bin and noticed the endorsement of my favorite author, Amy Tan.

It is a good read. I am especially haunted by the human rights abuses against women in China. Speaking of ZERO reproductive rights: Because of a heavily enforced single-child policy, women are dragged off in the middle of the night for forced — often late-term abortions — and forced sterilizations. Even mothers who want to keep their baby girls — boys are favored for their strong arms in manual labor — are forced to tearfully leave them in markets and at the doors of orphanages. Many mothers even care for their babies — as is evident by their full-stomachs and good health when found — yet must abandon them for fear of retribution for breaking the “one-child” rule.

Forget Planned Parenthood. Why aren’t the religious fanatics of this country protesting in front of the Chinese embassy? I’ve repeatedly asked myself this question while reading this book and can’t stop wondering that these activists’ energy is misguided.

I remember being heckled by “pro-life” protesters at a Planned Parenthood in Boston even though I never had an abortion there. I was a poor college student who needed cheap birth control and pap smears. Why don’t the “pro-lifers” protect the women who want to keep their babies — just like many of these Chinese women do? Otherwise, I fear women here will become desperate when they can’t afford to raise their children — like this Virginia woman who shot her own belly to induce an abortion. What a screwed up situation.